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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2020

Localized economic contributions of renewable wood-based biopower generation

Dahal, Ram P.; Aguilar, Francisco X.; McGarvey, Ronald G.; Becker, Dennis; Abt, Karen L.


We assessed the role of renewable wood-based biopower generation in supporting local economies by deriving multiplier effects from a sample of U.S. power plants representing 348.3 MW of installed capacity (1.2 million MWh of power generation for 2016) with annual expenditures of over US$117 million. Average annual employment, labor income, value-added, and gross output values associated with the generation of wood-based power were contrasted with those from power generated from coal and natural gas. Economic multiplier effects of localized operation and maintenance expenditures were derived following an input-output analysis. Results, expressed in 2017 US$. show the economic contribution of wood-based biopower was lower (US$123.96 per MWh) than power generated from coal (US$386.55 per MWh) and natural gas (US$989.79 per MW). However, wood-based biopower value-added localized multiplier effects were nearly 20% higher than coal-based power, at US$2.80 per dollar spent in operation and maintenance. Our findings suggest that, after considering sustainability thresholds for woody biomass availability, its expanded utilization could contribute between US$5.00 billion to US$22.00 billion in value-added to local economies across the US. (C) 2020 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Biopower; IMPLAN; Economic contributions; Economic multipliers; Net annual woody biomass increase

Published in

Energy Economics
2020, volume: 91, article number: 104913
Publisher: ELSEVIER

Authors' information

Dahal, Ram P
University of Missouri Columbia
Aguilar, Francisco X (Aguilar Cabezas, Francisco X)
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Forest Economics
McGarvey, Ronald G
University of Missouri Columbia
Becker, Dennis
University of Idaho
Abt, Karen
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG7 Affordable and clean energy
SDG8 Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

UKÄ Subject classification

Energy Systems

Publication Identifiers


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