Bioenergy (i.e. biomass) is set to grow through 2016, according to a recent report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration and its January Short-Term Energy Outlook.
According to the report, total renewables, including biomass, will produce 9.5% more electricity in 2016 than in 2015. Wood biomass will produce approximately 115,000 MWh of electricity in 2016, and should increase to 118,000 MWh per day in 2017. Waste biomass production will average 60,000 MWh per day both in 2016 and in 2017.
In terms of raw materials, the EIA expects 0.243 quadrillion Btu (quad) of wood biomass to be consumed this year by the electric power sector, rising to 0.252 quad in 2017. Waste biomass will actually see a slight decrease in 2017, down 0.001 quad to 0.274 quad next year.
Trends are similar in the industrial sector, which anticipates consuming 1.234 quad of wood biomass and 0.196 quad of waste biomass in 2016. Both will increase in 2017 (to 1.24 quad and 0.199 quad, respectively).
In the commercial sector, 0.043 quad of wood biomass will be consumed in 2016, and in the residential sector, 0.418 quad will be used (going up to 0.426 quad next year).
EIA Reports Higher Bioenergy Capacity
In a separate report – the Electric Power Monthly report released in December – the EIA suggested that total capacity from bioenergy and biomass increased in the latter half of 2015.
According to the report, there were 46 MW of capacity added to the U.S. in the month of September. Much of this – 40 MW – came from wood and wood waste biomass. The rest came from landfill gas. Over the next 12 months, the EIA anticipates 162.8 MW of capacity from bioenergy to be added, including a balanced, three-way split between wood and wood waste (56.6 MW), municipal solid waste (55.3 MW), and other waste sources (40.9 MW).
These reports suggest that 2016 will be a good year for growth in the biomass industry. More biomass plant projects are set to start over the next two years, and some have already had their groundbreaking ceremonies. The push to incorporate biomass more and more into traditional power generation continues on.