November 18, 2021 By Bioenergy Europe
Global pellet production remains on the path of constant and stable growth, with an increase of five per cent from 2019 to 2020. The EU reached 18.1 million tonnes of production, making it the world’s major pellet producer. Germany is still the largest pellet producer within the EU, whilst Czechia registered a remarkable increase of 21.5 per cent in 2020.
Regarding consumption, pellet use has increased by seven per cent globally compared to 2019, reaching 19.3 million tonnes. The EU-27 remain the largest global pellet consumer. The residential and commercial segments are once again led by Italy, which remains the world’s largest pellet user for the residential sector, with a total consumption of 3.4 million tonnes.
The positive trend for the sector confirms wood pellets’ great resilience to externalities such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent energy price crisis.
Even though the supply of raw material was reduced due to a slowdown of the sawmilling activity, most market actors remained well stocked due to the high raw material availability in areas affected by forest disturbances such as the bark beetle (Germany, Czechia, etc.).
On the other hand, the recent increase in electricity and gas prices did not impact the biomass sector and wood pellets kept their stable price levels, revealing itself as a suitable solution to tackle high energy dependency on natural gas import and addressing energy prices crisis such as the one Europe is currently facing.
Taking all this into account, wood pellets should be considered a reliable and affordable solution for all sectors in the context of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. They can significantly contribute to the decarbonization of the heating sector, which is responsible for almost half of the EU’s energy consumption. In many European countries pellets are cheaper than fossil alternatives (heating oil, gas, or coal) providing an excellent solution to address energy poverty.
Bioenergy Europe secretary general, Jean-Marc Jossart, highlights that “adopting a dual approach of ban on direct and indirect subsidies for fossil fuels, along with the unlocking of support through the Social Climate Fund would allow citizens to switch from fossil heating appliances to modern and efficient pellet solutions. This would result in a faster deployment of renewable solutions whilst shielding vulnerable consumers from energy poverty.”
Jossart adds that “a stable policy framework is essential for giving a sufficiently long-term perspective to companies to further invest in sustainable pellet production and use, which will further help climate change mitigation efforts”.
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