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Secure energy supplies from local sources

Secure renewable supply

Scotland is fortunate in having a large standing timber resource, with the potential for timber production rates to increase in years to come. A vibrant wood fuel sector could provide a wealth of local jobs and investment across the supply chain.

Energy security

A secure energy supply is important to us all. Uncertainty over supply results in rapid price fluctuations which have a serious impact on industry. As individuals, we are seeing increasing energy costs with more and more people being forced into fuel poverty - spending more than 10% of their income on heat and electricity. Renewable energy, generated locally, can be part of the solution.

Woodfuel is unique in being able to supply energy on demand, unlike other renewable resources, such as windpower, whose availability is intermittent. Woodfuel availability is also reasonably predictable.

Although primarily a local source of energy, biomass is also an internationally tradable commodity.

A rich renewable resource

In the medium to long term, the continuing growth of the wood fuel sector will significantly increase demand for wood. So, we are looking at using a range of resources for woodfuel, including new energy crops, undermanaged woodlands and recycled wood.

The Wood Fuel Task Force Report 2011 states that there is currently the equivalent of around 432,000 oven dried tonnes (ODT) of untapped wood resource annually. It also suggests that improving timber production rates suggest this could at least double within the next ten years.

Availability of timber will also depend on prices, harvesting and delivery costs, and other markets. Woodfuel can offer a new local market for forestry, minimising transport distances and costs, and bringing woodlands which were previously uneconomic to harvest back into management. Increased demand for woodfuel will offer a stimulus for landowners and the forestry industry to better manage Scottish woodland.

Regions and communities can become more energy self-sufficient by using locally produced woodfuel. This could also generate local jobs and benefit the local economy.

Regions and communities with limited alternative natural resources for energy production can achieve a greater degree of self-sufficiency in their energy requirement through the use of locally produced woodfuel.