Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
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Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
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Texas Comptroller Energy Tour: Biomass Overview

Biomass Snapshot | Print Snapshot (PDF)

Texas has long been a leader in the energy industry; its abundance of fossil fuels and renewable sources generate electricity for the state and make substantial contributions to the Texas economy. Texas’ energy use is tied to its large population, hot climate and extensive industrial sector, and the state depends on reliable and affordable energy. One small, yet unique source of energy for the state is biomass power.


Biomass is composed of renewable organic material, such as wood, agricultural waste and algae, that can be converted into usable fuel for electric and thermal forms of energy. Plants use photosynthesis, a process that uses solar energy, carbon dioxide and water to create their own food for growth.1 When animals consume plants, not all the stored energy is absorbed by the animals, so some energy is transferred into the animals’ waste.2 This means that animals and their waste are also a source of biomass energy. These sources of biomass energy can be processed into forms that are usable for energy production at power plants and refineries. Other suitable forms include ethanol (a fuel produced from corn and sugarcane) and biodiesel (a fuel produced from soybeans and oil palm trees).3

Direct combustion is another common method of using biomass to generate energy. In this process, the thermal energy created by burning biomass is used to convert water into steam, which is then used to turn turbines that generate electricity. Before the rise of fossil fuels in the mid-19th century, burning biomass to generate heat and light was the nation’s most consumed form of energy.4

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, in 2022, biomass made up nearly 5 percent of total U.S. energy consumption.5 Industrial use accounted for 46 percent of biomass consumption in the U.S., while transportation, residential, electric power and commercial use accounted for the remaining 54 percent.

Biomass generation in Texas has experienced a decline since 2018, falling from nearly 1.6 million MW in 2018 to 1.3 in 2021, a 19 percent decrease. Peak generation for biomass occurred in 2014 with 1.8 million MW produced, while 2021 was the lowest recorded biomass generation over the past decade (Exhibit 1).6

Exhibit 1
Wood and Wood-Derived Fuels and Other Biomass Annual Generation
Wood and Wood Derived Fuels and Other Biomass
MW Hours in Millions
2012 1.7
2013 1.7
2014 1.8
2015 1.4
2016 1.7
2017 1.6
2018 1.6
2019 1.5
2020 1.4
2021 1.3

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration

Biomass for Texas Energy

According to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), in 2023 biomass contributed less than 0.1 percent of the total energy used by ERCOT-served counties (214 out of 254 Texas counties).7 In Austin, biomass energy is received from the Nacogdoches Power Plant The plant, acquired by Austin Energy in 2019, can produce over 100 megawatts (MW), making it the largest biomass plant in the country.8

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) listed 16 biomass power plants in Texas as of September 2022 (Exhibit 2).9 These power plants contributed 376 MW to Texas in 2022.

Exhibit 2
Texas Biomass Power Plants, 2023
Power Plant Utility Owner Texas County Total MW
Nacogdoches Power Austin Energy Nacogdoches 100.0
International Paper Texarkana Mill Graphic Packaging International - Texarkana Cass 65.0
WestRock (TX) WestRock (TX) Jasper 59.5
Woodville Renewable Power Project East Texas Electric Coop, Inc. Tyler 46.5
International Paper - Orange International Paper - Orange Orange 33.2
Rio Grande Valley Sugar Growers Rio Grande Valley Sugar Growers, Inc. Hidalgo 18.9
DFW Gas Recovery WM Renewable Energy, LLC Denton 12.2
Covel Gardens Gas Recovery EDL, Inc. Bexar 9.6
Snider Industries Snider Industries, Inc. Harrison 5.0
Austin Gas Recovery WM Renewable Energy, LLC Travis 4.8
Nelson Gardens Landfill Gas to Energy Nelson Gardens Energy, LLC Bexar 4.4
Ameresco Dallas, LLC Ameresco Dallas, LLC Dallas 4.2
Security TX LFG Energy, LP Montgomery 3.4
Westside Landfill Gas Recovery WM Renewable Energy, LLC Parker 3.2
Farmers Branch Renewable Energy Facility WM Renewable Energy, LLC Denton 3.2
Mesquite Creek LFGTE Project WM Renewable Energy, LLC Comal 3.2

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration

According to the 2023 U.S. Energy and Employment Report, biomass fuel employment, including non-woody biomass and woody biomass, accounted for 2,134 jobs in Texas in 2022. Biomass-related employment in Texas increased 8.7 percent from 2021 to 2022, with 1,964 biomass jobs in 2021. According to Chmura, a labor and economic market research and software firm, the average wage for biomass electric power generation employment in 2022 was $144,687. Biomass electric power generation contributed $32.2 million to Texas’ gross domestic product in 2022.

Biomass Material in Texas

In Texas, there are 17 biomass material manufacturers that produce biomass material to supply biomass power plants (Exhibit 3). A majority of the biomass material produced is a wood product commonly known as mulch.10 According to the EIA, in 2022 about 80 percent of biomass energy in Texas comes from wood or wood-derived material.11 In addition to wood products, biomass producers also produce renewable natural gas (RNG). RNG is methane captured from the decomposition of organic material in landfills and wastewater treatment plants, which is burned to create steam used in steam-powered turbines.12

Exhibit 3
Texas Biomass Material Manufacturers, 2023
Company Biomass Product Type County
Bruce’s, Inc. Wood (Bark) Jasper
Hope Agri Products Wood (Mulch) Polk
Jemasco, Inc. Wood (Mulch) Lamar
Landscapers Pride Wood (Mulch) Walker
Living Earth Wood (Mulch) Sabine
Living Earth Wood (Mulch) Harris
Natural Earth Technology, LLP Wood (Mulch) Cherokee
New Earth Soils & Compost Wood (Mulch) Montgomery
Novus Wood Group, LP Wood (Mulch) Harris
Oldcastle Lawn & Garden Wood (Mulch) Liberty
Oldcastle Lawn & Garden Wood (Mulch) Polk
Vital Earth Resources, Inc. Wood (Mulch) Gregg
Woodville Pellets Texas, LLC Wood Pellets Tyler
Cambrian Energy RNG Dallas
Morrow Renewables RNG Collin
Toro Energy RNG Travis
Ameresco RNG Harris

Source: Texas Natural Gas Foundation, Texas A&M Forest Services13


Although biomass is just a small part of Texas’ energy portfolio, research is underway to expand its future use by developing biomass material sources in addition to wood, such as algae and waste material from crops and food.

Substantial research conducted by Texas A&M University is attempting to convert algae and food waste into sustainable sources of energy. Texas A&M AgriLife Research is using artificial intelligence to produce algae it hopes will provide a cost-efficient source of biomass material, estimating the selling price of this biomass to be about $281 per ton at its current growth rate.14 In February 2023, Texas A&M University College of Engineering reported on additional research that aims to turn waste from landfills into a renewable source of energy through a method called MixAlco. In this process, waste is stored in a tank where microorganisms are introduced to decompose the material into organic acids that can be easily converted into gasoline, jet fuel and other forms of fuel.

In May 2023, Drax, a biomass and renewable energy company based in England, announced plans to establish its North American headquarters in Houston for Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS), a process that captures the carbon dioxide released during energy generation using biomass to reduce negative carbon emissions.15 Houston would become the hub for the company’s BECCS projects, bringing more available clean energy to Texas and creating more than 100 new jobs in Texas’ renewable energy industry.16


Texas has potential for biomass energy, given the state’s abundant agriculture and forestry resources.17 Along with Texas’ reputation as a leader in energy, the state may one day see an increase in the use of biomass to produce energy due to investments and research being done in the industry. Investment in new bioenergy plants, including in Newton County, is expected to result in biofuel for aviation purposes and to advance the sustainable energy market in Texas.18


Links are correct at the time of publication. The Comptroller's office is not responsible for external websites.

  1. National Geographic, “Photosynthesis,” (Last visited October 3, 2023.)
  2. U.S. Energy Information Administration, “Biomass explained,” (Last visited September 25, 2023.)
  3. U.S. Energy Information Administration, “Biomass and the environment,” (Last visited October 3, 2023.)
  4. U.S. Energy Information Administration, “Renewable Energy Explained,” (Last visited Sept. 30, 2023.)
  5. U.S. Energy Information Administration, “Biomass explained,” (Last visited September 25, 2023.)
  6. U.S. Energy Information Administration, “EIA-923 Power Plant Operations Report, Net Generation by State by Type of Producers by Energy Source, 1990-2021,” (Last visited Oct. 13, 2023.)
  7. Electric Reliability Council of Texas, “Fuel Mix,” (Last visited Sept. 25, 2023.)
  8. Austin Energy, ”Renewable Power Generation,” (Last visited Oct. 24, 2023.)
  9. U.S. Energy Information Administration, “U.S. Energy Atlas,” (Last visited July 12, 2023.)
  10. Texas Natural Gas Foundation, “Renewable Natural Gas in Texas” (Last visited September 25, 2023.)
  11. U.S. Energy Information Administration, “Texas,” (Last visited September 25, 2023.)
  12. U.S. Department of Energy, “Alternative Fuels Data Center,” (Last visited September 24, 2023.)
  13. Texas A&M Forest Services, “Directory of Forest Products Industries,” (Last visited Oct. 12, 2023.);
    Texas Natural Gas Foundation, “Major RNG developers,” (Last visited Oct. 12, 2023.)
  14. AgriLife Today, “Artificial Intelligence predicts algae potential as alternative energy source,” (Last visited July 12, 2023.)
  15. Drax, “What is bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS)?,” (Last visited October 3, 2023.);
    Drax, “Drax selects Houston, Texas as headquarters for bioenergy carbon capture business,” , May 23, 2023. (Press release.)
  16. Drax, “Drax selects Houston, Texas as headquarters for bioenergy carbon capture business,” May 23, 2023. (Press release.)
  17. Office of the Texas Governor, Texas Renewable Energy (Page 26.) (Last visited September 25, 2023.);
    U.S. Department of Agriculture, “Farm sector financial indicators, state rankings,” (Last visited September 25, 2023.)
  18. Office of the Texas Governor, Texas Energy Industry (Page 2.), (Last visited September 25, 2023.);
    Office of the Texas Governor, “Governor Abbott Announces New $1.7 Billion USA BioEnergy Advanced Biorefinery In Bon Wier,” Austin, Texas, February 15, 2022, (Press release.)