EIA updates 2020, 2021 bioenergy forecasts

U.S. electricity generation from renewable energy sources is expected to reach 20 percent in 2020 and 22 percent in 2021, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s latest Short-Term Energy Outlook, released Nov. 10. Renewables accounted for 18 percent of U.S. electricity generation last year.

In the electric power sector, biomass was used to generate 28.1 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity last year, including 16.1 billion kWh from waste biomass and 12 billion kWh from wood biomass. Biomass generation is expected to increase slightly this year to 18.2 billion kWh, including 16.2 billion kWh from waste biomass and 12 billion kWh from wood biomass. Generation is expected to increase to 31.4 billion kWh in 2021, including 17 billion kWh from waste bomas and 14.4 billion kWh from wood biomass.

Across other sectors, biomass was used to generate 29.4 billion kWh in 2019, including 2.9 billion kWh from waste biomass and 26.5 billion kWh from wood biomass. Biomass generation is expected to fall to 28.9 billion kWh this year, including 2.8 billion kWh from waste biomass and 26.1 billion kWh from wood biomass. Biomass generation is expected to fall slightly in 2021, to 28.8 billion kWh, including 2.8 billion kWh from waste biomass and 26 billion kWh from wood biomass.

The electric power sector is expected to consume 0.241 quadrillion Btu (quad) of waste biomass this year, down from 0.248 quad in 2019. The sector’s consumption of waste biomass is expected to increase to 0.253 quad in 2021. The electric power sector is also expected to consume 0.193 quad of wood biomass this year, up from 0.201 quad in 2019, and increasing to 0.232 quad in 2021.

The industrial sector consumed 0.16 quad of waste biomass in 2019. Consumption is expected to increase to 0.162 quad in 2020 and fall to 0.161 quad in 2021. The sector also consumed 1.473 quad of wood biomass in 2019, with consumption expected to fall to 1.38 quad in 2020 and rebound slightly to 1.382 quad in 2021.

The commercial sector consumed 0.36 quad of waste biomass and 0.084 quad of wood biomass last year. The sector’s consumption of waste biomass is expected to fall to 0.035 quad of waste biomass and 0.083 quad of wood biomass this year. That level of consumption is expected to be maintained into 2021.

The residential sector consumed 0.529 quad of wood biomass in 2019. Consumption is expected to fall to 0.511 quad this year and remain at that level in 2021.

Across all sectors, the consumption of waste biomass was at 0.433 quad last year. Consumption is expected to remain at that level this year and increase to 0.448 quad in 2021. Consumption of wood biomass was at 2.297 quad in 2019 and is expected to fall to 2.171 quad in 2020 before increasing to 2.208 quad next year.

The electric power sector had 6,669 megawatts (MW) of biomass power capacity in place at the end of 2019, including 3,942 quad of waste biomass capacity and 2,727 quad of wood biomass capacity. The sector’s biomass capacity is expected to fall to 6,627 MW this year, including 3,901 MW of waste biomass capacity and 2,727 MW of wood biomass capacity. Biomass capacity is expected to increase slightly by the end of 2021, to 3,637 MW, including 3,911 MW of waste biomass capacity and 2,727 MW of wood biomass capacity.

Across other sectors, biomass capacity was at 6,434 MW at the end of last year, including 786 MW of waste biomass capacity and 5,648 MW of wood biomass capacity. Biomass capacity is expected to increase slightly to 6,439 MW by the end of this year, including 802 MW of waste biomass capacity and 5,636 MW of wood biomass capacity. According to the EIA, 2020 capacity levels are expected to remain stable through the end of 2021.

By Erin Voegele | November 10 2020

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