Imports of North American wood fuel to supply British biomass power plants has tripled over the past five years – largely due to recent conversions of coal-fired power stations.
The bulk of the wood fuel imports (66%) – mostly in pellets – comes from US and Canadian saw mills.
However, according to the latest Woodfuel Survey by the Department for Energy (DECC) domestic UK demand is now expected to remain steady at around 1.4 million oven dried tonnes to 2020.
The anticipated increase in biomass generation over the next five years will continue to be met through imports.
The majority of woody biomass has been sourced from North America, primarily from existing forestry and processing practices. This trend is expected to continue to 2020.
Demand for UK ‘virgin wood’ remains constant 400,000 to 500,000 million oven-dried tonnes pa.
Not all biomass power generators responded to the DECC survey – but all of the 13 largest generators did.