Bioenergy – a renewable leader often overlooked
For Latvia, its Bioenergy Day occurs on September 10, which is third of all the EU member states as Latvia’s bioenergy share in the final energy consumption is 31%. The total use of renewable energy in Latvia was almost 38% in 2015, compared to 18% in the EU as a whole. The government’s goal is to reach 40% renewables in gross final energy consumption by 2020.
Didzis Palejs Chairman of the Latvian Biomass Association (LATbio) and President of AEBIOM here seen making a point during the 2017 Nordic-Baltic Bioenergy (NBB) conference held in Helsinki, Finland.
Other EU member states with high shares of bioenergy are Sweden (36%), Finland (33%), Estonia (27%), Denmark (25%), Lithuania (22%), and Austria and Romania (both 20%).
It cannot be stressed enough; bioenergy is essential for the EU-28 to reach its climate and energy goals, remarked Didzis Palejs Chairman of the Latvian Biomass Association (LATbio) and President of AEBIOM.
Bioenergy is primarily utilized in Latvia for heat and power generation and there is a significant export of biomass fuels, in particular, wood pellets. In 2015, the share of renewables in transport was 3.9%, below the EU average of 6.7%.
Like its Nordic and Baltic neighbours, Latvia is a forest rich nation and forests currently cover 52% of the land area (3.383 million ha) almost double compared to 27% in 1923. The sector now accounts for 20% of export income. The value of the bioenergy sector was estimated to be worth EUR 688.5 million in 2014 of which the export value of wood pellets was almost worth EUR 170 million.
Although demand for forest products and biomass is growing in Latvia, with reafforestation and sustainable forestry the growing forest stock volume has almost quadrupled since 1935.