EIA releases 2021, 2022 bioenergy forecasts

By Erin Voegele | January 14, 2021

The U.S. Energy Information Administration on Jan. 12 released is Short-Term Energy Outlook for January, which features the agency’s first short-term predictions for 2022. The EIA currently predicts electricity generation from renewables will continue to increase.

Electricity generation from renewable energy sources is expected to reach 21 percent this year, and 23 percent in 2022, up from 20 percent in 2020.

In the electric power sector, biomass was used to generate 27.5 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity last year, including 16 billion kWh from waste biomass and 11.5 billion kWh from wood biomass. Generation is expected to increase to 30.4 billion kWh in 2021, including 16.9 billion kWh from waste biomass and 13.5 billion kWh from wood biomass. Biomass generation is expected to reach 32.1 billion kWh in 2022, including 17.5 billion kWh from waste biomass and 14.6 billion kWh from wood biomass.

Across other sectors, biomass generation was at 28.6 billion kWh last year, including 2.8 billion kWh from waste biomass. Those levels of generation are expected to remain flat through 2022. Generation from wood biomass was at 25.9 billion kWh in 2019 and is expected to fall slightly to 25.8 billion kWh in 2021 and 2022.

The electric power sector is expected to consume 0.25 quadrillion Btu (quad) of waste biomass this year, up from 0.237 quad in 2020. Consumption is expected to grow to 0.259 quad in 2022. The sector is also expected to consume 0.219 quad of wood biomass in 2021, up from 0.185 quad in 2020, with consumption expected to increase to 0.236 quad in 2022.

The industrial sector is expected to consume 0.154 quad of waste biomass in both 2021 and 2022, down slightly from 0.156 quad in 2020. The sector consumed 1.375 quad of wood biomass in 2020. That level of consumption is expected to increase to 1.387 quad in 2021 and 1.399 quad in 2022.

The commercial sector consumed 0.036 quad of waste biomass in 2020. That level of consumption is expected to remain flat through 2022. The sector also consumed 0.083 quad of wood biomass last year, with consumption expected to fall slightly to 0.082 quad in 2021 and 2022.

The residential sector consumed 0.506 quad of wood biomass last year. That level of consumption is expected to remain flat through 2022.

The electric power sector had 6,594 megawatts (MW) of biomass capacity in place at the end of 2020, including 3,868 MW of waste biomass capacity and 2,727 MW of waste biomass capacity. Total biomass capacity for the sector is expected to fall to 6,498 MW by the end of this year, including 3,914 MW of waste biomass capacity and 2,584 MW of wood biomass capacity. The sector’s biomass capacity is expected to partially rebound by the end of 2022, with 6,544 MW of biomass capacity expected to be in place, including 3,918 MW of waste biomass capacity and 2,626 MW of wood biomass capacity.

Across other sectors, total biomass capacity was at 6,460 MW at the end of 2020 and is expected to fall to 6,440 MW by the end of 2021 and rebound slightly to 6,444 MW by the end of 2022. Waste biomass capacity was at 804 MW in 2020 and is expected to remain at that level through 2022. Wood biomass capacity was at 5,656 MW in 2020 and is expected to fall to 5,636 in 2021 and increase to 5,641 MW in 2022.