In the United States, 100 MW of biomass power capacity was added in 2011, resulting in $300 million in revenues. In 2012, new capacity additions are expected to double.
In 2011, 3.5 GW of global biomass power capacity was added, generating revenue of $10.5 billion. Even though biomass installations and revenues are expected to drop 30% in 2012, primarily because of low natural gas prices, new installations are expected to continue steadily at 3 to 4 GW per year between 2013 and 2018. The European Union remains one of the more mature markets for biopower worldwide, with Finland, Sweden, and the Netherlands as leaders in the utilization of biomass for heat and power applications. Biopower represents 14%, 7%, and 6% of electricity capacity in these countries, respectively. Large-scale (>100 MW) projects are being pursued in the United Kingdom as an alternative to (or co-fired with) coal, but several of these projects are being scaled back due to eroding economic drivers and questions surrounding the ability to source sufficient biomass feedstock under long-term contracts that meet increasingly stringent sustainability regulations.
In the United States, 100 MW of biomass power capacity was added in 2011, resulting in $300 million in revenues. In 2012, new capacity additions are expected to double, generating revenue of approximately $600 million. Revenue from biomass pellet exports was not included in the revenue calculation. Several utilities, including Georgia Power, Portland General Electric, and others have proposed to convert existing coal plants to biomass. In June 2012, Southern Company brought online the country’s largest dedicated biomass power plant to date, located in Texas, with capacity of 100 MW. Other projects aim to co-fire biomass with coal in an effort to reduce operating expenses and comply with increasingly strict emissions regulations. Although Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPSs) encourage biomass power utilization in most states, lower natural gas prices, feedstock supply risk, and environmental concerns are slowing project development and represent challenges to the viability of additional large projects.
gross domestic product
The Biomass subsegment contributed $292 million in increased U.S. GDP in 2011.
advanced energy in action
- Gas Turbines
- Other Distributed Generation
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