News Forestry, Statistic

In 2020, a total of 322,000 tonnes of wood pellets were produced in Finland. Imports of wood pellets into Finland reached a new record, while the export volume was the lowest in the history of the statistics. The information is based on most recent wood pellet statistics of the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke).

According to Tuomas Niinistö, Senior Statistician at Luke, the production of wood pellets continued to decrease in 2020. A total of 322,000 tonnes of wood pellets were produced in Finland, down by 11 per cent from the previous year.

In 2020, a total of 112,000 tonnes of wood pellets were imported into Finland, being more than ever before. Imports increased by 11 per cent from the previous year. Nearly 90 per cent of wood pellets were imported from Russia, while the remaining share was mainly imported from the Baltic countries.

“Wood pellet exports came nearly to a stop in 2020. Only 7,000 tonnes were exported, being the lowest volume recorded in statistics so far”, Niinistö says. Nearly all exports were directed at Sweden.

“In the record-breaking year of 2008, the export volume was 227,000 tonnes, nearly 30 times higher than in 2020.”

The apparent consumption of wood pellets (production + imports – exports) decreased by two per cent from the previous year, reaching a level of 427,000 tonnes.

Domestic pellets are usually consumed at power and heating plants

Deliveries by domestic pellet producers to their customers (300,000 tonnes) decreased by ten per cent from the previous year. The amount of wood pellets delivered to power and heating plants and large buildings decreased by 11 per cent from the previous year, totalling 250,000 tonnes, while deliveries to small-scale housing and farms decreased by three per cent to 49,000 tonnes.

Wood pellets only account for a small part of the use of wood fuels in Finland

“Although the use of wood pellets at power and heating plants has increased in recent years, they only account for a few per cent of the total use of solid wood fuels. Furthermore, wood pellets only covered roughly one per cent of all wood fuels used in small-scale housing,” Niinistö says.

Wood pellet production growing steadily in the EU

According to the statistical period starting from 2004, the production of wood pellets has been in a steady increase in the EU: according to Bioenergy Europe’s statistics, the volume was 17.8 million tonnes in 2019.

“Germany was the leading producer of wood pellets in the EU with 2.8 million tonnes”, Niinistö says.

“The consumption of wood pellets in the EU increased to 27.7 million tonnes, with pellets imported mainly from North America accounting for 40 per cent. The UK was clearly the largest user of pellet energy, burning a total of 9.2 million tonnes of wood pellets in 2019.”

Information about the statistics

Information about wood pellet production and deliveries is collected directly from pellet producers. Information about imports and exports is obtained from the international trade statistics of Finnish Customs.