EIA updates 2018, 2019 bioenergy production, capacity forecasts

By Erin Voegele | December 13, 2018

The U.S. Energy Information Administration has released the December edition of its Short-Term Energy Outlook, predicting that nonhydropower renewables will provide 10 percent of U.S. utility-scale power generation this year, increasing to 11 percent in 2011.

The EIA currently predicts wood biomass will be used to generate 114,000 MWh per day of electricity this year, increasing to 117,000 MWh per day in 2019. Waste biomass is expected to be used to generate 58,000 MWh of generation in both years.

In the electric power sector, biomass is expected to be used to generate 87,000 MWh per day this year, including 49,000 MWh per day from waste biomass and 38,000 MWh per day next year. The sector is expected to generate 89,000 MWh per day from biomass next year, including 49,000 MWh per day from waste biomass and 40,000 MWh per day from wood biomass.

Across other sectors, biomass is expected to generate 86,000 MWh per day in both 2018 and 2019, including 77,000 MWh per day from waste biomass and 9,000 MWh per day from wood biomass.

The electric power sector is expected to generate 0.279 quadrillion Btu (quad) of waste biomass this year, falling to 0.276 quad in 2019. The sector is also expected to consume 0.219 quad of wood biomass in 2018, increasing to 0.236 quad next year.

The industrial sector is expected to consume 0.168 quad of waste biomass in 2018, falling to 0.165 quad in 2019. The sector is also expected to consume 1.522 quad of wood biomass this year, falling to 1.419 quad next year.

The commercial sector is expected to consume 0.045 quad of waste biomass in 2018, falling slightly to 0.044 quad in 2019. The sector is also expected to consume 0.084 quad of wood biomass in both 2018 and 2019.

The residential sector is expected to consume 0.394 quad of wood biomass this year, increasing to 0.42 quad next year.

Across all sectors, the consumption of waste biomass is expected to reach 0.494 quad this year, increasing to 0.486 quad in 2019. The consumption of wood biomass, however, is expected to fall, from 2.22 quad in 2018 to 2.159 quad in 2019.

The electric power sector is expected to have 7,202 MW of biomass capacity in place by the end of 2018, including 4,215 MW of capacity from waste biomass and 2,987 MW of capacity from wood biomass. By the end of 2019, total biomass capacity in the sector is expected to increase to 7,352 MW, including 4,206 MW from waste biomass and 3,146 MW from wood biomass.

Across other sectors, biomass capacity is expected to reach 6,630 MW by the end of 2018, including 873 MW from waste biomass and 5,757 MW from wood biomass. By the end of 2019, biomass capacity is expected to fall slightly to 6,621 MW, including 889 MW from waste biomass and 5,732 MW from wood biomass.