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April 13, 2021

More electricity is generated in Georgia from biomass than in any state except California

annual biomass electricity generation by sector in selected states
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Electric Power Monthly

In 2020, Georgia generated 5.8 million megawatthours (MWh) of electricity from biomass, or about 10% of the nation’s total, the second most of any state according to EIA’s Electric Power Monthly. Almost 5% of Georgia's in-state electricity generation in 2020 came from biomass, mostly wood and wood-derived fuels, a share that ranked sixth in the nation. Biomass accounted for nearly half of Georgia’s total renewable electricity generation in 2020.

Generation of electricity using biomass in Georgia has grown by over 80% since 2010; almost 400 megawatts of capacity has come online at 16 different facilities in the past 10 years. Nearly 70% of Georgia’s biomass electricity generation came from the industrial sector, compared with 47% of industrial sector biomass generation as a national average in the United States. Many industrial sector generators use lumber and paper mill waste to produce steam and electricity to reduce the amount of other fuels and electricity needed to operate their facilities. The rest of Georgia’s electricity generation from biomass came from the electric power sector.

Biomass is renewable organic material that comes from plants and animals. In addition to using wood, agricultural waste, municipal solid waste, and animal manure are biomass materials that can be used to generate electricity. Biomass contains stored chemical energy from the sun. Biomass can be burned directly for heat or converted to renewable liquid and gaseous fuels through various processes.

Georgia’s 25 million acres of forested land covers two-thirds of the state. About 24 million acres of this land is available for commercial use. Biomass resources contribute to Georgia’s economy in many ways, including many wood processing mills, wood pellet manufacturers, and paper mills.

Wood solids primarily consist of residues from forestry, lumber production and manufacturing, paper mills, and other allied industries, and they are used to produce heat and electricity in the electric power and industrial sectors. 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.

Additional state-level analysis for all types of energy is available in our State Energy Portal.

Principal contributor: Brett Marohl