Forest residues are a cost-effective and environment-friendly raw material for the manufacture of transport biofuels.
Energy-utilisation of forest residues has advantages over many other energy sources and cultivated biomasses. Utilisation of this timber harvesting and forestry by-product does not necessitate any land-use changes or forest clearances. Nor does it compete with food production over land use like many other biomasses do. Furthermore, an increase in forest residues utilisation would not result in additional irrigation water or pesticide use.
Forest energy is pure local energy
Forest energy is a pure and local energy form; it comes from a known source, as its wood raw material grows in the forests of Finland. Forest utilisation creates prosperity for Finnish family forest owners through wood trade. The sustainable nature of forestry activities is safeguarded with forest certification, a globally accepted method of verifying the sustainability and legality of forest utilisation.
Finland is the number-one country for forest certification. The world’s most common forest certification systems, PEFC and FSC, are widely used by Finnish companies. Over 95% of Finland’s commercial forests are covered by certification, while only 9% of the world’s forests have been certified. The legality of non-certified forest utilisation is also under strict supervision in Finland and elsewhere in Europe.
The forest resources are growing strongly. It is our duty to make diverse and sustainable use of growing forests in the production of wood and paper products, energy and fuels as well as of other bioproducts that are in harmony with the principle of sustainable development.
Why is wood-generated energy considered renewable?
Growing trees bind atmospheric carbon dioxide during photosynthesis. After wood is burned, growing trees once again absorb the released carbon dioxide and this offsets carbon dioxide emissions. We must promote good growth conditions in forests and ensure that forest growth is utilised effectively and diversely in order to safeguard this carbon cycle.
Renewable energy accounts almost 30% of Finland’s overall energy consumption. Wood-based bioenergy is the most significant renewable energy form in forested Finland. The forest industry produces about 70% of Finland’s renewable energy using mostly wood. Those tree parts and processing by-products that cannot be utilised in the manufacture of products are used to generate energy.
Fossil fuels like oil and coal are not renewable energy sources. Burning them releases into the atmosphere carbon dioxide, which has been stored in the Earth’s crust for hundreds of millions of years. Coal and oil are called non-renewable fuels simply because they are not being created anymore.
Some 80% of the electricity used by the forest industry is already being generated without any carbon dioxide emissions whatsoever. The industry is continuing to break away from fossil fuels by investing in energy-efficiency, bioenergy and carbon-dioxide-free electricity production.
Ahti Fagerblom, manager, energy and climate policy
Tel: +358 9 132 6667, +358 40 820 9763