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Wood Demand in US Rising for Bioenergy; Still Modest Relative to Expectations

According to Wood Bioenergy US, wood pellet and wood-to-electricity plants in the continental US will consume over 30 million green tons in 2010.  This is based on screening the 376 wood-consuming, announced and operating bioenergy projects in the Wood Bioenergy US database as of August 24th, 2010.

The 2010 wood use estimate for bioenergy represents ~6% of Forisk’s forecasted total US wood consumption for industrial purposes this year, which include the production of paper and paperboard, OSB, plywood and softwood and hardwood lumber.  Analysis of these announced and operating bioenergy projects highlights competing realities:

  1. Uncertainty associated with federal legislation (i.e. EPA’s Tailoring Rule and Boiler MACT; USDA’s BCAP revisions) have slowed developing biomass projects;
  2. Understanding that “all wood baskets are not created equal” has created a sense of urgency for key wood-using projects to get sited, built and underway.
  3. Forest industry mills increasingly recognize their long experience and strategic advantages in producing bioenergy and have made moves to retain/regain/accept a leadership position in this sector.

Looking forward at the current crop of wood bioenergy projects:

  • They represent potential, incremental wood use of 123.7 million green tons/year by 2020 (see table).
  • Based on Forisk analysis, projects representing only 69.6 million tons/year pass basic viability screening.

Click here to download the complete Wood Bioenergy US summary.

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