U.S. EIA predicts increased wood, waste biomass consumption

By Erin Voegele | January 10, 2014

The U.S. Energy Information Administration has published the January issue of its Short-Term Energy Outlook, which provides its first 2015 forecasts for wood biomass and waste biomass energy production.

According to the STEO, woody biomass is expected to be used to generate 120,000 megawatt hours (MWh) per day of electricity across all sectors in 2014, increasing to 123,000 MWh per day in 2015. In 2013, woody biomass was used to generate an estimated 110,000 MWh per day of electricity.

Waste biomass is expected to generate an average 56,000 MWh per day of electricity across all sectors in 2014 and 2015, up from 55,000 MWh per day in 2013.

The electric power sector is expected to consume 0.266 quadrillion Btu (quad) of woody biomass in 2014, increasing to 0.277 quad in 2015. The sector consumed only 0.21 quad of woody biomass in 2013. The consumption of waste biomass in the electric power sector is also expected to increase, from 0.257 quad in 2013 to 0.263 and 0.264 in 2014 and 2015, respectively.

The EIA predicts the industrial sector will consume 1.234 quad of wood biomass in 2014, down from 1.289 quad in 2013. Consumption is expected to increase in 2015, reaching 1.25 quad. The industrial sector is also expected to increase its consumption of waste biomass, from 0.173 quad in 2014 to 0.177 quad in 2015. In 2013, the sector consumed an estimated 0.174 quad of waste biomass.

Consumption of wood biomass in the commercial sector is expected to increase slightly, from 0.062 quad in 2013 to 0.063 quad in 2014 and 0.064 quad in 2015. Consumption of waste biomass is also forecast to increase slightly in 2015, reaching 0.047 quad. In 2013 and 2014, the EIA data shows 0.046 quad of waste biomass was expected to be consumed.

The consumption of wood biomass in the residential sector is expected to drop slightly, from 0.42 quad in 2013 to 0.414 in 2014. Consumption is expected to fall again in 2015, with a projected consumption level of 0.407 quad.

However, the number of U.S. households heating with wood is expected to increase by 2.5 percent in the 2013-’14 heating season, reaching 2.648 million.

A full copy of the STEO can be downloaded from the EIA’s website.