A forecast released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) predicts that total biomass capacity and generation will increase throughout 2018 and 2019.
According to the EIA’s numbers, one major type of biomass – wood biomass – will see production increase. Throughout the rest of 2018 and into 2019, wood biomass-sourced electricity generation will rise from 119,000 MWh per day to 120,000 MWh per day.
In order to reach this level of generation, power plants will use 0.244 quad of wood biomass in 2018 and 0.247 quad in 2019. The industry sector will need 1.435 quad of wood biomass in 2018, although that number will decrease in 2019. However, commercial and residential use of wood biomass will both increase to help make up for the losses.
As far as capacity goes, the electric power sector is projected to increase its biomass-powered capacity from 7,303 MW as of January 1, 2018 to 7,373 MW by January 1, 2019. Capacity in other sectors will increase from 2017 levels in 2018 but recede slightly in 2019.
As a whole, there will be a total of 179,000 MWh per day of electricity generated from biomass sources in both 2018 and 2019, an increase of roughly 4,000 MWh per day from 2017.
Factors Impacting Biomass Power Surge
There are several factors that could increase the above numbers.
Any government action – whether it’s through regulation or through subsidization – could impact the industry. It’s unlikely that tougher regulations will be enacted against biomass, especially from the Trump administration, and there is the prospect that over the next year, the EPA could finalize a definitive framework for biomass energy production that has been years in the making.