- REA welcomes UK Pellet Council and the Forest Stewardship Council decisions to no longer recognise wood products coming from Russia and Belarus;
- This will stop their import for use in bioenergy systems;
- Decision expected to place pressure on biomass feedstock availability;
- REA says that the Government must do more to help farmers and landowners grow domestic bioenergy feedstocks.
The Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology (REA) has welcomed the UK Pellet Council and Forest Stewardship Council decisions to no longer recognise wood products coming from Russia and Belarus, stopping their import for use in bioenergy systems.
The decisions are expected to place pressure on biomass feedstock availability in the immediate term, especially for biomass heating systems, with total European production expected to decrease by 12-15%.
The biomass heat industry will look to ensure that supply chains are quickly diversified over the summer, in order to reinforce supply for next winter when heat demand will increase again.
The REA says that the Government must do more to help farmers and landowners to grow domestic biomass feedstocks, such as perennial energy crops and short rotation forestry, to both facilitate decarbonisation and help provide UK energy security.
Chair of the REA’s Wood Heat Forum, Terence McCracken (Innasol), said:
“The REA welcomes the commitments of biomass supply companies to urgently restructure their supply chains, ensuring that biomass feedstocks, such as wood pellets, will no longer be sourced from Russia or Belarus. Decisions by the UK Pellet Council and the Forest Stewardship Council to no longer recognise Russian wood products are to be applauded, as the UK’s renewable energy and clean technology companies continue to insulate our energy demands from Russian supplies.
“The UK biomass heat industry is keenly aware of the impact this may have on biomass availability. The REA is committed to working with our members of the Wood Heat Forum, their suppliers, and broader sector stakeholders to help the industry diversify its supply chain and address the shortfall resulting from cutting Russian imports. As a result, it is essential that industry and government use the opportunity provided by lower heat demand in summer to reinforce supply chains in time for next winter.
“Crucial to this is the Government taking the need to expand domestic biomass production seriously by supporting the production of perennial energy crops and short rotation forestry products. The Climate Change Committee has previously highlighted the need to plant 23,000 hectares of energy crops a year if we are to meet our Net Zero ambitions. Current international supply constraints should be considered, yet there needs to be further impetuous to ensure that farmers and landowners are rewarded for the growth of such crops and for the additional environmental benefits they provide, primarily through the Government’s Environmental Land Management Scheme.
“The REA and its members stand ready to see biomass feedstocks supply chains appropriately diversified, so that biomass can continue to play its role in both delivering decarbonisation and future energy security for the UK.”
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Notes to editors
Forest Stewardship Council Announcement on Russian Wood Products: https://fsc.org/en/newsfeed/no-fsc-material-from-russia-and-belarus-until-the-invasion-ends
UK Pellet Council Announcement on Russian Pellets: https://www.biomassheatworks.co.uk/blog
About the Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology (REA):
The Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology (known as the REA) is the UK’s largest trade association for renewable energy and clean technologies with around 550 members operating across heat, transport, power and the Circular Economy. The REA is a not-for-profit organisation representing fourteen sectors, ranging from biogas and renewable fuels to solar and electric vehicle charging. Membership ranges from major multinationals to sole traders.
For more information, visit: www.r-e-a.net