- School of Public Policy
- Climate and Energy Policy Laboratory
- The Economic and Environmental Performance of Biomass Power as an Intermediate Resource for Power Production
In: Utilities Policy [Peer Reviewed]
Electricity powered by biomass is expanding. We examine four recent biopower plants and global benchmarks to assess their overall performance, confirming the characterization of biomass as an “intermediate” resource for power production. Electricity from biomass is more expensive than energy efficiency, natural gas, wind, or solar but substantially less expensive than new coal or nuclear plants. Compared to coal and natural gas per MWh produced, the NOx and SO2 emissions of biopower are also intermediate. We document that current investments in biopower can be attributed to an array of stakeholder value propositions extending beyond basic economic and environmental metrics.