Survey of Energy Resources 2007
Peat Country Notes
In 1995 the total area covered by peat soils (known as histosols) was some
214 000 km2, of which Alaska accounted for just over 50%. In the contiguous United States, the major areas of peat deposits are in the northern states of Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin, along the eastern seaboard from Maine to Florida and along the Gulf coastal region as far as Louisiana.
The potential uses of peat as fuel were evaluated during the 1970s; a Department of Energy study published in 1980 covered - in addition to direct combustion uses - the potential for producing liquid fuels from peat.
Interest in developing the use of peat for energy purposes has diminished since 1980. A small (23 MW) power plant was constructed in 1990 in Maine, to be fuelled by local peat. Initial problems associated with the use of inappropriate harvesting equipment were overcome but it was then difficult to obtain further permits to exploit the larger bog area required; the boilers were subsequently fuelled mainly by wood chips.