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Dutch Imports of Wood Pellets Doubled in 2020

Date: 09/25/2020 08:33:02 From: Clicks:

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According to a report recently submitted by the US Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agricultural Service Global Agricultural Information Network, the Netherlands' wood pellet imports doubled in 2019 to a record 1.22 million tons. Based on the joint ignition plan of the Dutch power company, imports are expected to double again this year.

The report explained that the Netherlands imported more than 1 million tons of wood pellets in 2012. At the time, the United States was the largest supplier of pellet fuel for the Dutch power company, importing 600,000 tons.

From 2013 to 2017, Dutch wood pellet imports stagnated because the government stopped supporting the use of wood biomass fuel for power generation (see graph 1 below). However, the subsidies were restored in 2018 and 2019. As a result of these subsidies, the Dutch electricity sector imported 1.22 million tons of wood pellets last year, worth US$232 million. Only a small portion of these particles are imported from North America. In 2018 and 2019, the Dutch power company mainly sourced wood pellets from Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania and Russia.

Imports of Wood Pellets - The Netherlands

Graph 1. Imports of Wood Pellets - The Netherlands (MT)

Russia dominated the trade at the expense of U.S. and Canadian market share, see graph 2 below. NOTE: Pellet imports from Belgium and the United Kingdom are re-exports and are most likely sourced from the United States and Russia. Imports from the Baltic States could also include re-exports from Russia, but the majority are believed to be direct imports.

Imports of Wood Pellets - The Netherlands (mt) Main Suppliers

Graph 2. Imports of Wood Pellets - The Netherlands (mt) Main Suppliers

The main hurdle for U.S. wood pellets shipped to the Netherlands is that the pellets must be certified at the forest level as a pre-condition for receiving SDE+ funds. In the United States, pellets for export are produced by large-scale plants, but the biomass for pellet production is generally sourced from small forest owners who do not have a program for certification. Forest-level certification is not required by other EU Member States importing wood pellets, including the United Kingdom, Denmark and Belgium. This requirement is also not included in the new EU Renewable Energy Directive (known as REDII).

According to the report, the Dutch government has developed a verification protocol as an alternative to certification to promote the import of pellets. However, importers are often reluctant to use the system because of concerns that the product may be determined to be non-compliant after delivery.

It is estimated that the Netherlands consumed 1.197 million tons of wood pellets in 2019, up from 614,000 tons in 2018. This year's consumption is expected to increase to 2.25 million tons. In 2019, the country imported 1.223 million tons of wood pellets, of which 130,000 tons came from the United States. It is expected that this year's imports will reach 2.5 million tons, and the United States will supply 500,000 tons of them.

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