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Market demand in Scotland

More and more homes, businesses and organisations are using wood fuel boilers, creating a growing demand for wood in the form of logs, pellets and chips.

Continued growth

Forestry Commission Scotland's (FCS) Woodfuel Demand and Usage in Scotland Report 2015 identified 1,248k oven dry tonnes (odt) of woodfuel used in Scotland in 2015. This is an increase of 14% over what was used in 2014 and 38% increase of what was used in 2013.

The 2015 report can be accessed here and the combined 2013 and 2014 report here.

Other headline facts from the 2015 report are as follows:

  1. At the end of 2015 there were an estimated 5,985 boilers using woodfuel in Scotland, of these 99.5% of the installations are heat only with a thermal capacity of less than 1,000 kilowatts (kW).
  2. Total woodfuel used in Scotland in 2015 was 1,248k oven dry tonnes (odt), a 150k odt increase in the amount used over the 2014 reported figure of 1,098k - a 13.7% increase. This is in contrast to the 2013-14 increase of 41.3%.
  3. In 2015, the number of large boilers with a capacity of 1,000 kilowatt thermal (kWth) and above represented 0.45% of all boilers using woodfuel in Scotland. The amount of woodfuel used by the boilers in this category dropped as percentage of total woodfuel use from 84% in 2014 to 81.2% in 2015.
  4. The highest number of woodfuel boiler installations are found in rural Local Authority areas with Aberdeenshire, Borders, Dumfries and Galloway and Highland accounting for almost 50% of all installations.
  5. The majority of woodfuel used in Scotland continues to be virgin fibre, sawmill co-products and process residues, but amounts decreased as a percentage of overall woodfuel used to 52.3% in 2015, a decrease of 1% compared to 2014. Recycled wood use decreased to 39% compared to 42% in 2014 but still remains an important source for very large boilers. Pellet increased slightly to 5% in 2015 up from 4% in 2014.
  6. There will be at least two large new woodfuel boilers commissioned in 2016 with a further 3 large boilers in the process of design, planning or development. The predicted increase in demand for 2016 may only be as high as 72.5k odt and for 2017 a further 12k odt. As reported in the 2014 report, continued 'degression' of tariff rates offered by the Department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) as a result of a high uptake of RHI schemes and the reduction in the price of oil, has slowed the rate of installations in the heat category of less than 200 kWth, which has seen the highest increase in the number of boilers in the last two years.
  7. No new wood pellet plants have been opened since 2012 so the total in Scotland remains at 5. The quantity of wood used for the manufacture of pellets in 2015 was approximately 296k odt compared to 304k in 2014.
  8. Woodfuel boilers in Scotland contributed 3,276k megawatt hours (MWh) in 2015 to the Scottish Government's renewable heat targets.
  9. Wood-fuelled boilers in Scotland are estimated to have saved 1,467k tonnes of CO2e in 2015, which is slightly more than in 2014 (1,309k tonnes), mainly due to an increase in woodfuel use but also due to changes in the methodology used.

The chart below shows woodfuel useage in Scotland since 2004/05.

Woodfuel usage 04-17



Available raw material

The estimated volume of raw material in Scotland was estimated by the Woodfuel Task Force in 2011.