FERC: 777 MW of biomass capacity came online in 2013

By Erin Voegele | January 31, 2014

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Office of Energy Projects has issued its Energy Infrastructure Update for December, reporting that 12 biomass power generation units were placed into service during the month, representing 269 megawatts (MW) of capacity.

More biomass-fired generating capacity was placed into service in December than any other renewable technology. In addition to the 12 biomass units, two hydro units with a combined capacity of 6 MW, two wind units with a combined capacity of 20 MW, two geothermal steam units with a combined capacity of 20 MW, and 35 solar units with a combined capacity of 79 MW were placed into service during the month. Several fossil fuel-fired units were also placed into service, including 14 natural gas units with a combined 685 MW of capacity and four oil units with a combined 2 MW of capacity.

Within the report, the FERC highlighted several biomass power projects. Cate Street Capital LLC’s 75 MW wood-fired Burgess BioPower project in Coos County, N.H., came online in December. Power generated at the plant is sold to Public Service Co. of New Hampshire under a long-term contract.

Plainfield Renewable Energy Group’s 43 MW wood-fired plant in Windham County, Conn., also came online during the month. That plant sells its power to Connecticut Light and Power under a long-term contract.

Starwood Capital Group Global’s 100 MW biomass power plant in Alachua, Fla., is online. The facility, known as the Gainesville Renewable Energy plant, sells its power to Gainesville Regional Utilities under a long-term contract.

Nippon Paper Industries Co. Ltd.’s 22 MW waste wood-fired facility in Clallam County, Wash., is also now online, along with Western Evce LLC’s 12.5 MW wood waste-fired Gypsum Biomass project in Eagle County, Colo. The Gypsum plant uses a portion of the power onsite and sells the remaining electricity to Holy Cross Energy.

The FERC also reports that Minnesota Municipal Power Agency’s 8 MW biomass gas-fired Hometown BioEnergy project in Le Sueur, Minn., is now online.

Ameresco Inc.’s 2 MW landfill gas project tin Kent County, Del., came online in December, along with William Howard Brinker’s 2 MW landfill gas project in Onslow County, N.C.

A total of 97 biomass power generation units were placed into service throughout 2013, with a combined capacity of 777 MW. In 2012, 155 biomass units with a combined capacity of 580 were placed into service.

Including the 97 biomass units, 506 new generation units were placed into service last year with a combined capacity of nearly 14.21 gigawatts (GW). Approximately 1.54 GW of coal-fired capacity, 7.27 GW of natural gas-fired capacity and 38 MW of oil-fired capacity was placed into service in 2013, along with 378 MW of hydro capacity, 1.19 GW of wind capacity, 59 MW of geothermal steam, 2.94 GW of solar and 76 MW of waste heat.

As of the close of 2103, the FERC reports that the U.S. is home to 15.74 GW of biomass power capacity, equating to approximately 1.36 percent of total capacity nationwide. Of the renewable power generation technologies, only wind has a greater share of U.S. capacity, with 60.29 GW or 5.2 percent of total capacity. Geothermal steam has a combined 3.83 GW, or 0.33 percent of capacity. Solar has 7.42 GW, or 64 percent of capacity, while waste heat has 1.13 GW, or 0.1 percent of capacity.

The full energy infrastructure report can be downloaded from the FERC website.




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