Jaano Haidla, CEO of Graanul Invest, one of Europe’s largest pellet manufacturers, said the war in Ukraine and the spring truce on bird nesting in Estonian forests, which prohibits brush harvesting during the high breeding season, are the main causes of the shortage. biomass.
“All heating needs are stored in the spring. Woodchips are the most commonly used biomass heating material in large cities. It is harvested in the spring, when the ground is soft and no other trees has not been cut Brush is collected from the banks of the ditches And if the biomass has not been collected for two and a half to three months, it cannot be collected again because there is not enough material or labor, and the season has changed — the spring brush is drying up, while the winter brush is wet. We can put water in the boiler, but it doesn’t boil from it. itself and does not produce heat,” Haidla said.
Haidla said the practical question is to what extent clearing brush actually inhibits bird breeding.
“It’s purely an emotional issue. Many more birds are killed by activities other than forestry. Also, birds don’t nest in bushes, they nest in quiet places. Should we also ban birds? cars since some birds are killed by cars?”
Haidla hesitated to specify the nature of Graanul Invest’s pellet stocks.
“The challenge today is that there is both daily consumption and forecast storage. Winter storage is expected to increase as energy demand increases, and there are not enough materials market firsts to meet this demand,” said Haidla.
The war in Ukraine led to a shortage of two million cubic meters of biomass in the Baltic States, because “the missing biomass was imported from Belarus and Russia”.
To increase the availability of biomass, he proposed to temporarily intensify logging in Estonia, as has already been done in Latvia and Lithuania.
No increase in the exploitation of state forests
Meelis Seedre, head of the forestry department at the environment ministry, said that while there is a shortage of biomass in the market, stopping woodworking due to the bird nesting season is none of it. not the main cause.
“It is estimated that the district heating industry currently lacks 10% of the biomass it needs. However, the situation ultimately depends on the severity of the winter. A mild winter will not cause difficulties, but a very cold winter can be problematic,” Seedre said.
“District heating companies cannot store a large amount of raw material. An interesting aspect of firewood storage is that if more biomass is needed in the harsh winter, it can also be stored well due to frost. In contrast, when winters are milder, less biomass is needed, however wet soils make storage difficult,” he added.
Seedre said the amount of state forest to be cut has been planned in advance in accordance with authorized logging principles.
“The logging of worm-damaged spruce stands also contributes to the supply of firewood. In addition, timber harvesting is sufficient in private forests to provide the necessary raw materials, so we see no reason to increase logging volumes in state forests,” Seedre said.
Since preserving the peace of nesting in the state forest is a centuries-old tradition, the timber industry should not have been so surprised, Seedre added.
“Each year, more than 110,000 logging notifications are made, but the Environment Council has only stopped 30 this spring and summer. However, not all logging notifications are followed up by effect and some forest owners delay logging during peak nesting season, during which time it is still permitted to collect and remove already felled timber from the forest, allowing forest owners who have before the breeding season to continue to harvest their own wood,” Seedre explained.
Seedre said that the stoppage of woodworking during the nesting season is not a significant factor in the rise in biomass prices, but rather said that “the situation in the energy market is affected by the conflict in Ukraine”.