News Forestry, Statistic

In 2019, a total of 363,000 tonnes of wood pellets were produced in Finland, down by six per cent from the previous year. Imports of wood pellets into Finland reached a new record, while the export volume was the lowest in the history of the statistics.

According to Esa Ylitalo, Senior Statistician at the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), the increase of one fifth in the production of wood pellets during the past two years came to a stop in 2019. In 2019, a total of 363,000 tonnes of wood pellets were produced in Finland, showing a decrease of six per cent from the previous year, when production reached a new record.

Imports sky-high – exports in a slump

In 2019, a total of 101,000 tonnes of wood pellets were imported into Finland, being more than ever before. Imports increased by nearly six per cent from the previous year. Three fourths were imported from Russia and the rest mainly from the Baltic countries.

“Exports of wood pellets decreased by nearly one third from 2018 to 30,000 tonnes, being the lowest volume so far in the history of the statistics,” Ylitalo says.

“Some 70 per cent of exports were directed at Denmark. The highest export volume was recorded in 2008 when 227,000 tonnes of wood pellets were exported, i.e. nearly eight times the volume exported in 2019.

The apparent consumption (production + imports – exports) of wood pellets in Finland amounted to 433,000 tonnes, being roughly at the level of the peak year of 2018.

Most pellets used by production plants

Deliveries by pellet producers based on domestic pellet production – 333,000 tonnes – were at the 2018 level. The amount of wood pellets delivered to power and heating plants and large buildings increased by five per cent to 282,000 tonnes, while deliveries to small-scale housing and farms decreased by nearly one fifth to 51,000 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,” Ylitalo says.

High pellet volumes in Europe

According to the most recent statistics of Bioenergy Europe, a total of 16.9 million tonnes of wood pellets were produced in the EU in 2018. The highest volume was produced in Germany – 2.4 million tonnes. In the EU, the consumption of wood pellets increased to 26.1 million tonnes, a significant part of which was shipped to the EU from North America. The UK was clearly the largest user of pellet-based energy with its consumption of 8.5 million tonnes.

Information about the statistics

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