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Pellets ‘true example of circularity’, says Bioenergy Europe

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Bioenergy Europe has released the fifth chapter of its Statistical Report 2020, focusing on pellets.

The report highlights the key contribution of wood pellets to the EU sustainable recovery, and to the 2050 carbon neutrality target, describing pellets as a ‘true example of circularity’.

In 2019, the EU28 produced nearly 18 million tonnes of pellets (approximately 7.6 Mtoe), showing a growth of 5% compared to 2018. Across the EU, the primary source of feedstock is wood processing residues, according to the report, making pellets a ‘true example of resource efficiency and circularity’.

Pellet production gives an economic purpose to damaged wood, making sanitary cuttings and other necessary management operations viable. According to Bioenergy Europe, in several EU Member States including the Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, and Belgium, this already represents a solution to incentivise damaged wood removal from forests.

Pellets use, which is deemed a sustainable, efficient, and secure solution for households, commercial and small industrial processes, also represents a cost-effective way to de-fossilise the European heating sector. The Statistical Report 2020 shows pellets are often cheaper than fossil alternatives, making it a ‘perfect ally’ to tackle energy poverty.

With 16.4 million tonnes of pellets consumed in the EU28 in 2019, heating with pellets is increasing in popularity across member states. Despite this, a high share of residential heating appliance still run on fossil fuels in the EU28. As confirmed by the State of Energy Union report, fossil fuels still enjoy various subsidies (over €50 billion in 2019, up 6% compared to 2015). Bioenergy Europe believes these measures undermine the competitiveness of renewable solutions, delaying the transition towards carbon neutrality.

The EU’s proposed target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 and net-zero emissions by 2050 requires a rapid phasing out of fossil fuels across Europe. The report suggests heating and industry sectors are lagging. Pellets are one of the readily available and economically affordable solutions to phase out fossil fuels from the power sector, industrial processes, and residential heating, according to the report.

Bioenergy Europe’s Statistical Report 2020 sets out several ‘essential’ recommendations for policymakers moving forward. More information can be found on the Bioenergy Europe website.