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Europe and Wood Pellets

Post in 'The Green Room' started by vinny11950, Apr 9, 2013.

  1. vinny11950

    vinny11950 Minister of Fire

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    Not sure where to post this so I chose the Can because it will probably degrade to the usual boilerplate arguments.

    The Economist magazine has a good article on Europe's consumption of wood pellets for power plants.

    http://www.economist.com/news/business/21575771-environmental-lunacy-europe-fuel-future

    It is heavily subsidized there as they try to meet renewable energy targets by 2020. This is causing a distortion in the market as it is driving up the price of other products and not achieving the carbon neutrality desired because the pellets have to be imported from North America, adding more carbon to the entire cycle. But pellets do provide advantages wind and solar don't, so energy companies like them.

    As a pellet burner, I care because I don't want them Europeans buying up my pellets !!!

    I have yet to buy them for next winter.

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  2. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Let's try the green room and keep the politics out. I can move it back if need be.

    This trend started a while back. We sell a lot of pellets to Europe, particularly to Scandinavia. This is in spite of a heavily forested Norway.
  3. vinny11950

    vinny11950 Minister of Fire

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    Thanks, Begreen. What impressed me was the growth rate of consumption:

    "With incentives like these, European firms are scouring the Earth for wood. Europe consumed 13m tonnes of wood pellets in 2012, according to International Wood Markets Group, a Canadian company. On current trends, European demand will rise to 25m-30m a year by 2020."
  4. vinny11950

    vinny11950 Minister of Fire

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    that got me thinking about how much production capacity we have here at home and I found this article online.

    http://www.starnewsonline.com/article/20130406/ARTICLES/130409747?p=1&tc=pg

    "U.S. production is expected to increase from 3 million tons in 2009 to 10 million by 2015." Not sure where they get this number or if it is correct.

    But the article has a list of some of the facilities already in the southeast.

    I guess the question is what is the pellet production capacity in the US and Canada and then match that up to current and projected overall demand.
  5. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    I wonder how many pellets Hearth.com'ers burn in a year....probably less than Sweden and more than Portugal!
  6. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    In Scandinavia pellets are delivered in bulk, just like coal or oil. There is no storing, stacking, toting bags full of pellets. You get a regularly scheduled delivery. There's no dust in the home from daily refills. This has accelerated adoption of central pellet furnaces and boilers. The uncertainty of alternative supplies like natural gas is also pushing the market toward more predictable resources.
  7. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    Between what is being exported from here to Europe, and what will be consumed here by a large biomass power plant currently under construction (along with a couple of pulp mills to feed) - there will be big pressure on our forests coming for us. I don't know where they're going to find the fibre to feed this stuff long-term. Throw in 12% wilderness protection legislation, and I think the other 88% is in for some serious haircuts. We're a pretty small province.
  8. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    How much is Nova Scotia looking into tidal power?
  9. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    Quite a lot actually. I'm a half hour away from a new project in the Bay of Fundy. The first experimental turbine of a couple years ago didn't last too long before it got smashed to crap - back to the drawing board. Apparently they severely underestimated the currents down there, and all the debris (read boulders) rolling around with it. A main transmission line has since been erected in preparation for the second version of the turbine - I'm not sure when that will happen, they're taking a while with it. Hopefully they will get past the issues and get it (and others) online - there's a lot of potential there. There has been a small dam-type setup in operation for decades on the other side of the Bay.

    I know you wanted to keep the politics out of this, but we've got legislation in place forcing 'green' quotas & deadlines to be met (no matter the huge up front costs), that are causing carts to be placed in front of horses in a few places. I'm hoping the tidal will get harnessed in time to take the pressure off our forests - but then again we'll have a shiney new biomass plant that will be hard for anybody to shut down. Biomass has great potential as a renewable energy source - it also has potential to cause lots of resource destruction if it's not managed right. Then there's the huge hydro power project in Labrador that is in the planning stages, and the proposed transmission network that we're newly tied up in to run the power from that to us & points west. Just so much happening all at once - it should be all for the good, but I don't think the guys at the top are fully evaluating how all this stuff & these projects will impact each other when (or if) they all come to fruition. Kind of a bull-in-china-shop scenario standing back & looking at what's happening or being planned.

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