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out that several years ago, it was projected that within just a few years, Germany would become net importers of wood pellets, which is not the case today. “It shifted in the other direction—growth stalled in that market, and appliance sales went down,” he says. “Everything looks different now than it did a few years ago.” And finally, the EU commission can change rules at any time, Lechner points out. “Things can change very quickly, and very significantly—there are a lot of ifs and uncertainty,” he adds. “For example, if Germany should really go for biomass cofiring, very high demand could unfold quickly. Same with Spanish and Portuguese coal power stations. They’re busy lobbying their governments, and we’ll have to see where it goes. It’s a rather uncertain future, but probably more upsides than downsides. Suppliers have to be very wary of this cliff edge in 2026 and ‘27, because it’s not that far out any more. They have to really gear

up and find a strategy to survive, and not be left with stranded assets.” Editor’s note: At press time, the U.K. government released its response to consultation of cost control for further biomass conversions under the Renewable Obligation. The response proposes applying a cap at the power station level across ROC units, rather than imposing a cap on ROC support for future biomass unit conversions. In response, Drax announced it would convert a fourth unit to wood pellets, with plans to complete the work in the second half of 2019. Each of Drax’s existing converted units consumes approximately 2.3 million metric tons of wood pellets annually. The fourth unit will likely operate with lower availability than the three existing converted units, as Drax intends to run it at periods of higher demand. At the same time, the European Parliament confirmed and improved the revision of the Renewable Energy Directive and the

Energy Efficiency Directive, to guarantee sustainability of bioenergy consumed in the EU for the period 2021-‘30. The European Biomass Association issued remarks of approval, stating that the approach will allow solid biomass to keep playing a key role in the European energy transition while providing coherent and realistic sustainability safeguards, but that the bioenergy sector will have to remain cautious in Parliament trilogue negotiations. Author: Anna Simet Editor, Pellet Mill Magazine asimet@bbiinternational.com 701-738-4961

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2018 | PELLET MILL MAGAZINE 19

2018 January/February Pellet Mill Magazine  

The European Production & Consumption issue

2018 January/February Pellet Mill Magazine  

The European Production & Consumption issue