Report: Renewable power gains U.S. market share

By Erin Voegele | February 05, 2013

Bloomberg New Energy Finance and the Business Council for Sustainable Energy have released a new report that describes a dynamic, rapidly changing energy landscape in the U.S. The report, titled “The Sustainable Energy in America 2013 Factbook,” demonstrates that renewable source of power, along with natural gas, have gained market share in the U.S., largely at the expense of conventional resources.

“Significant changes are occurring in the US energy sector that are boosting investment and accelerating deployment of a range of commercially available clean technologies,” said Lisa Jacobson, president of BCSE. “The 2013 Factbook outlines these dynamics and provides the very latest data, not just on how much is being invested or how much is getting built, but on today's costs for these technologies. Our hope is that the report serves as a useful tool for policymakers and investors seeking the very best benchmarks in the energy sector.”

Regarding biomass, the report shows that power generation capacity from biomass and waste feedstocks increased from 13.9 gigawatts (GW) in 2008 to 14.7 GW in 2012. “Since 2008, interest in dedicated biomass combustion has started to pick up, driven by attractive state subsidies or feedstock availability,” said BNEF and BCSE in the report.

According to the report, the annual asset finance for biomass generation averaged more than $900 million from 2008 through 2012, a substantially lower amount than found in the wind and solar sectors. The authors of the report attribute this to a smaller number of bankable projects, and add that capital tends to be available for biomass projects that have a power purchase agreement in place, as well as an experienced EPC contractor and protection against feedstock availability and price risk.

The report also includes statistics on the economics of establishing biomass fueled power plants, anaerobic digestion systems, gasification systems and waste-to-energy facilities. A full copy of the report can be downloaded from the BNEF website