IEA: US bioenergy capacity to reach 14.4 GW by 2018

By Erin Voegele | July 01, 2013

The International Energy Agency has released its second annual Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report (MTRMR), predicting that power generation from renewable resources will exceed that of natural gas, and account for twice the generation of nuclear by 2016. 

Renewable power generation in general is expected to increase by 40 percent over the next five years. According to the IEA, renewables—the fastest growing power generation sector—will account for nearly 25 percent of the global power mix by 2018.

“As their costs continue to fall, renewable power sources are increasingly standing on their own merits versus new fossil-fuel generation,” said IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven as she presented the report at the Renewable Energy Finance Forum in New York. “This is good news for a global energy system that needs to become cleaner and more diversified, but it should not be an excuse for government complacency, especially among OECD countries.”

In the U.S., the report predicts that total renewable capacity will grow from 184 GW in 2012 to 247 GW in 2018, a growth rate of more than 5.1 percent per year. In 2012, bioenergy production in the U.S. increased, reaching 12.1 GW and accounting for 1.5 percent of the power mix. The IEA predicts that bioenergy capacity will reach 12.4 GW in 2013 and increase fairly steadily through 2018, when it will account for an estimated 14.4 GW of capacity. 

According to the MTRMR, renewable energy capacity in Canada is expected to expand from 86 GW in 2012 to 108 GW in 2018. The IEA predicts that within the country, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec will lead in this growth. Bioenergy is expected to increase by 1.2 GW from through 2018, reaching 3 GW. 
In the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Americas, which is comprised of the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Chile, the IEA predicts bioenergy generation will increase from 78 TWh in 2012 to 99 TWh in 2018. In the OECD Asia Oceania region, which includes Australia, Japan, Korea, Israel and New Zealand, the report predicts bioenergy power generation will increase from 36 TWh in 2012 (1.9 percent of total generation) to 41 TWh in 2018. 

In OECD Europe, the report notes that renewable electricity generation grew by a record 110 TWh, or 12 percent, between 2011 and 2012. Bioenergy power production grew from 79 TWh to 142 TWh during that time, accounting for 4 percent of total power generation in 2012. By 2018, the IEA predicts bioenergy power production will reach 192 TWh in Europe. 

Bioenergy power generation in non-OECD countries is also expected to increase from 104 TWh—or 0.9 percent of total power generation—to 228 TWh in 2018. In China alone, bioenergy capacity is expected to grow from 8 GW in 2012 to 25 GW in 2018. Bioenergy power capacity is expected to increase as a slower rate in India, from 4.2 GW in 2012, to 6 GW in 2018.