Seattle, United States — Biomass has now surpassed oil to become the number one source for energy generation in Sweden.
Sweden is one of the countries in the world that has come the furthest on the road towards fossil fuel independence. Last year, the Swedish government approved a plan to have renewable energy reach 50% of the total energy consumed in the country by the year 2020, reports the Wood Resource Quarterly. In addition, the country aims to be totally independent of imported fossil fuels for the transportation sector by 2030.
The total energy consumption generated from biomass in Sweden grew from 88 terrawatt hours (TWh) to 115 TWh between 2000 and 2009, while the usage of oil-based products declined from 142 TWh to 112 TWh during the same period, according to the Swedish Bioenergy Association Svebio.
Biomass surpassed oil to become the number one source for energy generation in 2009, accounting for 32% of the total energy consumption in the country. It is projected that biomass consumption will continue to increase by another 10% in 2011.
The increased competition for logs and wood chips between the pulp industry and energy sector has pushed wood fiber prices to new highs. Historically, the pulp and paper market has been the major driver of wood fiber prices, but with the entry of the energy sector, there are now different market forces in place.
As a result, prices for smaller logs have been driven to new highs the past few years, and not likely to go back down to the levels seen during the period 1997-2006. Pulp log prices in the Q1 2010 were almost 20 percent higher than five years ago and 36 percent higher than ten years ago, according to the Wood Resource Quarterly.