May 12, 2020

EIA: COVID-19 to impact US electricity consumption

EIA: COVID-19 to impact US electricity consumption


The COVID-19 pandemic is expected to impact U.S. electricity consumption. The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s latest Short-Term Energy Outlook, released on May 12, predicts that retail sales of electricity in the commercial sector will fall by 6.5 percent in 2020 because many businesses have closed and many people are working from home. Industrial retail sales of electricity are also expected to fall by 6.5 percent his year as many factories cut back production. In addition, U.S. sales of electricity to the residential sector are expected to be down 1.3 percent due to lower electricity demand caused by milder winter and summer weather, which is offset slightly by increased household electricity consumption as much of the population spends relatively more time at home.

EIA currently forecasts total U.S. electric power sector generation will decline by 5 percent in 2020. Renewable energy sources are expected to account for the largest portion of new generating capacity in 2020, driving an expected 11 percent growth in renewable generation by the electric power sector. Although EIA expects renewable energy to be the fastest-growing source of electricity generation in 2020, the agency cautioned that the effects of the economic slowdown related to COVID-19 are expected to affect new generating capacity builds during the next few months.

The electric power sector is expected to generate 27.5 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity from biomass this year, including 15.2 billion kWh from waste biomass and 12.3 billion kWh from wood biomass. The sector’s power generation from biomass is expected to increasing to 28.8 billion kWh in 2021, including 15.5 billion kWh from waste biomass and 13.3 billion kWh from wood biomass.

Across other sectors, biomass generation is expected to be at 29.7 billion kWh this year, including 2.8 billion kWh from waste biomass and 26.9 billion kWh from wood biomass. Biomass generation is expected to fall slightly to 29.6 billion kWh in 2021, including 2.8 billion kWh  from waste biomass and 16.8 billion kWh from wood biomass.

According to the EIA, the electric power sector is expected to consume 0.23 quadrillion Btu (quad) of waste biomass this year, increasing to 0.235 quad next year. The sector is also expected to consume 0.199 quad of wood biomass in 2021, increasing to 0.215 quad in 2021.

The industrial sector is expected to consume 0.163 quad of waste biomass in both 2020 and 2021. The sector is expected to consume 1.364 quad of wood biomass this year, falling to 1.339 quad in 2021.

The commercial sector is expected to consume 0.036 quad of waste biomass and 0.084 quad of wood biomass in both 2020 and 2021.

The residential sector is expected to consume 0.526 quad of wood biomass this year. Consumption is expected to be flat in 2021.

Across all sectors, waste biomass consumption is expected to be at 0.429 quad in 2020, increasing slightly to 0.433 quad in 2021. Wood biomass consumption is expected to be at 2.173 quad this year, falling to 2.164 quad next year.

Total biomass power production capacity in the electric power sector is expected to reach 6,739 megawatts (MW) by the end of 2020, including 4,012 MW of waste biomass capacity and 2,727 MW of wood biomass capacity. Total biomass capacity for the sector is expected to increase to 6,769 MW by the end of 2021, including 4,042 MW of waste biomass capacity and 2,727 MW of wood biomass capacity.

Across other sectors, biomass capacity is expected to reach 6,456 MW by the end of 2020, including 800 MW of waste biomass capacity and 5,656 Mw of wood biomass capacity. Biomass capacity is expected to fall to 6,409 MW by the end of 2021, including 799 MW of waste biomass capacity and 5,610 MW of wood biomass capacity.

 

 



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