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Wood Bioenergy in Review: Assessing Actual versus Projected Wood Use

This post includes an excerpt from the feature article in the December 2013 edition of Wood Bioenergy US (WBUS) that compares bioenergy industry projections to realized capacity.

The current issue of Wood Bioenergy US (WBUS) compares industry announcements and Forisk research since 2010 to assess the variance of projections made by the U.S. bioenergy sector relative to realized wood-using capacity.  Overly-optimistic or under-evaluated estimates of wood use from bioenergy projects create analytic and incentive problems for bioenergy investors and financiers, NGOs focused on forest sustainability and policymakers looking to balance forest industry concerns and renewable energy development. The planned capacity to use wood for bioenergy exceeded the actual wood-using capacity in 2010, 2011, and 2012 by an average of 20%. Forisk’s application of viability screens reduced the variance between projected and actual wood-using capacity by 50% on average.

While dozens of projects failed and dropped out of the system since 2012, at least 18 projects came on-line and bought wood in 2013. Looking to 2014, 38 projects plan to begin operations; 45% (17 of 38) of these projects pass viability screens currently, representing 9.6 million additional tons of wood-using capacity.

WBUS Market Update:  As of December 2013, WBUS counts 442 announced and operating wood bioenergy projects in the U.S. with total, potential wood use of 122.6 million tons per year by 2023.  Based on Forisk analysis, 290 projects representing potential wood use of 80.9 million tons per year pass basic viability screening.  To download the free WBUS summary, click here.

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