Demand for wood pellets, primarily for electricity generation, is driving up exports from the United States, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
“In 2014, almost three-quarters of all U.S. wood pellet exports were delivered to the United Kingdom,” the EIA reports on The Energy Collective. “Overall, U.S. wood pellet exports increased by nearly 40% between 2013 and 2014, from 3.2 million short tons to 4.4 million short tons, as the United States continues to be the largest wood pellet exporter in the world.”
Wood pellets can be used for residential or commercial heating or in small-scale industrial boilers. But the UK, Belgium, and The Netherlands see them primarily as feedstock for utility-scale generation.
“The main driver for growing wood pellet consumption in Europe is the European Commission’s 2020 climate and energy plan, which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase the contribution of renewables to total energy consumption in the European Union,” the EIA explains. “The United Kingdom in particular is relying on the use of wood pellets in co-firing or dedicated biomass power plants as part of its compliance plan.”