Future use of woody biomass to produce electric power in the U.S. North can have an important influence on timber production, carbon storage in forests, and net carbon emissions from producing electric power. The Northern Forest Futures Project (NFFP) has provided regional- and state-level projections of standing forest biomass, land-use change, and timber harvest, which all influence forest contributions to global carbon cycles. This study supports the NFFP study of global carbon cycles by estimating potential local woody biomass supply under alternate procurement regimes and associated delivered costs to coal power plants for co-firing for 2010 and 2030. We estimated supply and delivered costs for 2010 and 2030 with concentric supply circles around individual power plant locations by using county-level estimates of woody biomass availability, harvesting and haul costs, and two different procurement regimes—one to remove logging residue and one to obtain woody biomass from forest thinning. Results of this analysis indicate that an average power plant in the U.S. North with the appropriate feedstock feeding technology has the potential to replace up to 10% of coal electricity generation with woody biomass, accounting for feedstock competition from adjacent power plants. We did not find that there would be a significant increase or decrease in wood co-firing potential between 2010 and 2030.
Goerndt, Michael E.; Aguilar, Francisco X.; Skog, Kenneth E. 2015. Potential for Coal Power Plants to Co-Fire with Woody Biomass in the U.S. North, 2010-2030: A Technical Document Supporting the Northern Forest Futures Project. USDA Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory, General Technical Report, FPL-GTR-237, 2015; 24 p.