EIA updates bioenergy forecasts in September STEO

By Erin Voegele | September 11, 2019

The U.S. Energy Information Administration expects nonhydropower renewables to provide 10 percent of total U.S. utility-scale electricity generation this this year, increasing to 12 percent in 2020, according to the agency’s latest Short Term Energy Outlook, released Sept. 10.  Nonhydropower renewables provided approximately 10 percent of utility-scale generation last year.

Biomass is expected generate 27.3 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity in the U.S. electric power sector this year, down from 31.4 billion kWh last year. Generation is expected to fall to 26.5 billion kWh in 2020.

In other sectors, biomass is expected to generate 30.4 billion kWh of electricity this year, down from 31.3 billion kWh last year. Generation is expected to be maintained at 30.4 billion kWh in 2020.

According to the EIA, the electric power sector is expected to consume 0.252 quadrillion Btu (quad) of waste biomass this year, falling to 0.246 quad next year. The sector is also expected to consume 0.179 quad of wood biomass this year, falling to 0.171 quad next year.

The industrial sector is expected to consume 0.166 quad of waste biomass in 2019, falling slightly to 0.165 quad next year. The sector is also expected to consume 1.449 quad of wood biomass this year, falling to 1.383 quad next year.

The commercial sector is expected to consume 0.043 quad of waste biomass and 0.085 quad of wood biomass this year. Those levels of consumption are expected be maintained in 2020.

The residential sector is expected to consume 0.522 quad of wood biomass this, with that level of consumption flat in 2020.

In the electric power sector, total biomass capacity is expected to fall to 6,978 MW this year, including 4,131 MW of waste biomass capacity and 2,847 MW of wood biomass capacity. In 2020, biomass capacity is expected to fall to 6,956 MW, including 4,067 MW of waste biomass capacity and 2,889 Mw of wood biomass capacity. Biomass capacity in 2018 was 7,133 MW, including 4,168 Mw of waste biomass capacity and 2,965 MW of wood biomass capacity.

In other sectors, total biomass capacity is expected to fall to 6,537 MW this year, including 862 MW of waste biomass capacity and 5,675 MW of wood biomass capacity. Biomass capacity is expected to increase in 2020, reaching 6,567 MW, including 862 MW of waste biomass capacity and 5,705 MW of wood biomass capacity. Biomass capacity was 6,663 MW in 2018, including 845 MW of waste biomass capacity and 5,819 MW of wood biomass capacity.