Preface: By far the largest so-called renewable fuel used in Europe is wood. In its various forms, from sticks to pellets to sawdust, wood (or to use its fashionable name, biomass) accounts for about half of Europe’s renewable-energy consumption.
Although Finland is the most heavily forested country in Europe, with 75% of their land covered in woods, they may not have enough biomass to replace coal when all coal plants are shut down by 2029. Much of their land has no roads or navigable waterways, so imports would be cheaper than using their own forests (Karagiannopoulos 2019).
Vaclav Smil, in his 2013 book “Making the Modern World: Materials and Dematerialization” states: “Straw continues to be burned even in some affluent countries, most notably in Denmark where about 1.4 Mt of wheat straw (nearly a quarter of the total harvest) is used for house heating or even in centralized district heating and electricity generation.”
There are three articles about wood below. Some other wood energy reports:
2016: Forests in southern states are disappearing to supply Europe with energy. In the past 60 years, the southern U.S. lost 33 million acres of forests even though biomass is not carbon neutral. Salon
2016: Japan is now turning to burning wood to generate electric power because of fewer nuclear power plants after Fukushima
1. The Economist. April 6, 2013. Wood: The fuel of the future. Environmental lunacy in Europe.
Which source of renewable energy is most important to the European Union? Solar power, perhaps? (Europe has three-quarters of the world’s total installed capacity of solar photovoltaic energy.) Or wind? (Germany trebled its wind-power capacity in the past decade.) The answer is neither.
By far the largest so-called renewable fuel used in Europe is wood.
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