Biomass from wood fuels 5 percent of Georgia electricity

Biomass may not be electricity fuel king in Georgia, but the state definitely is peachy keen on the resource.

Last year, the state generated 5 million MWh (or 5 GWh) of electricity from biomass, according to a Tuesday report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. This is about 10 percent of the nation’s biomass-fired total net generation and more than any other state except California.

Five percent of Georgia’s electricity resource mix comes from biomass, mostly wood and wood-derived fuels. These accounted for nearly half of the state’s total renewable electricity generation last year, according to the EIA.

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The industrial sector supplied 70 percent of the biomass used to generate power in Georgia. Several major pulp and packaging firms such as Georgia Pacific and WestRock are based in the state.

Georgia is covered by close to 25 million acres of forested land, 96 percent of that available for commercial use, according to the EIA report. Georgia is a leading exporter of wood pellets, sent mostly to Europe, where wood pellets are used to generate electricity as an alternative to coal.

The state ranks ninth nationwide in total net electricity generation, with coal, nuclear, gas, clean energy and biomass-fired plants. Utility Georgia Power is among the power generators utilizing wood-derived biomass.

California generates close to 3 percent of its massive net electricity from biomass, totaling close to 5,800 GWh in 2019, according to the state’s Energy Commission statistics.

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Biomass and waste-to-energy are already part of the generation mix, but could be growing stronger in the future. The Future of Electricity, the New Energy Mix and Trends in Conventional Power are all tracks planned for POWERGEN International happening Jan. 26-28 in Dallas. The POWERGEN Call for Speakers is now open and seeking session ideas.

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