Wood raw material that could be processed into higher value-added products should not be counted as bioenergy potential. At ongoing EU summit, the possibilities wood processing provides for climate protection as well as for the creation of jobs and prosperity must be pointed out.
The forest industry’s products are essential to modern society. From the perspective of sustainable development, it is best that they are manufactured where production is most efficient and causes least emissions. Manufacturing should also take place as close as possible to raw material reserves and the markets.
Decisions on renewable energy should be done on the national level
Today and tomorrow, EU decision-makers will comment on the Commission’s proposal to triple the proportion of renewable energy in the total energy consumption of the EU. The current hype about bioenergy sees forests only as a fuel source. This is why decision-makers should point out, by the summit at the latest, the possibilities created by wood processing and associated bioenergy generation.
It has to be possible to decide on renewable energy on the national level because of the special characteristics of the Finnish economy. Also energy-generation opportunities are known best at national level. If the EU imposes binding targets for the production of renewable energy it will prove extremely difficult politically to evaluate these goals with respect to each Member State. If this results in a vote by acclamation, climate issues will be but a side issue in the sharing of burden.
Processable wood raw material should not be considered as a potential source of bioenergy
Finland’s modern forest industry uses wood, a renewable natural resource, to create prosperity through the manufacture of sophisticated products and the generation of energy. The industry makes large investments into technology and implements the forest cluster’s common research strategy through, for example, designing biorefineries for the future, promoting the use of forest energy as well as by developing new paper and wood products in accordance with the principles of sustainable development.
The forest industry’s products bind carbon and conserve non-renewable natural resources. Its products can be recycled and burned to generate energy at the end of their lifecycle. The products of the Finnish forest industry form a significant carbon dioxide sink, in addition to which they are a significant raw material and source of bioenergy for Central Europe and other markets.
A recent study demonstrated that the forest industry in Central Europe creates 13 times more employment and 8 times more value-added input, which is very important to society. By processing wood and generating bioenergy than would occur if the wood was just burnt to create energy.
Background information for journalists: The forest industry is a driving force in bioenergy
Anders Portin, Senior Vice President, Sustainable Development and Resources, Finnish Forest Industries Federation, tel. +358 (0)9 132 6610
Stefan Sundman, Director, Energy and Infrastructure, Sustainable Development and Resources, Forest Industries Federation, tel. +358 (0)9 132 6611
Ahti Fagerblom, Advisor, Energy, Sustainable Development and Resources, Forest Industries Federation, tel. +358 (0)9 132 6667