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Overview of the wood-fired heating plants in the region Hauts-de-France

Thomas Grimbert and Tobias Nowakowski


Introduction of the energies used in France:

The largest share of Energy production in France is based on nuclear power plants. In 2017, the share was 71.6%.  In the case of the Hauts-de-France region, the nuclear power plant is located in Gravelines. Renewable energies account for 18% of our production, of which 1.7% is for wood [3].

With an occupied territory of 30% by forests, France has a great potential to enhance its wood-energy. The Hauts-de-France region, with its 428 000 ha of forest, therefore tries to exploit this richness. The wood used for heating is derived either from wood chips (85%) or from related products (9%) or wood waste (6%) [1]. In 2017, 14% of the French population warmed up with wood [7].



                                            [3]: Les Echos (2017)                                                                                                                                    [1]: The key figures of wood energy in Les Hauts-de-France (2016)


As already mentioned in the introduction, there are different opportunities to use wood for heating plants. Biorefineries use their technical possibilities to convert biomass, also wood and wood-waste, into usable fuel such as pellets and chips. These are stored or delivered to individual buyers. In the heating plants the fuel gets burned and heats water, which is directed to different households. Depending on the power plant, the warm air is filtered and can still be used by turbines to generate electricity. [2]

The market of wood fuel in Hauts-de-France:

According to the energy mix from the introduction, 14% of French households use wood as their main source of heating. In the Hauts-de-France region, this wood is mainly derived from wood chips. The prices varies between 41 and €120 per ton. One ton of wood chips represents between 2200 and 3900 kWh of energy [5]. In comparison, 2200 kWh of electricity from nuclear power represents 396 tons of CO2 released into the air. Wood also rejects a lot of CO2, but unlike nuclear, the CO2 emitted is CO2 which was absorbed for tree growth. For sustainable forest management the effect on the carbon air pollution is neutral.


Description of policy measures:

To promote wood-based bioenergy, several brands and certificates have been created. For example, the label "Flamme verte” or "Quali bois" are intended to promote the establishment of environmentally friendly and energy-efficient domestic heating appliances [6].

Today, the ecological transition is a key point in tackling global warming. In order to establish concrete objectives, the law No. 2015-992 was written on August 17, 2017. It implies that the state provides subsidies, "energy cheques" for the most modest households and facilitates access to grants and credits [4].


Evaluation of the effect of the measures:

To conclude, the use of wood as heating energy is not yet very popular in the Hauts-de-France but more generally in France. However, as shown in the graph below, the use of wood to heat has increased significantly over the last 10 years. It is therefore hoped that in the next few years, heating up to the wood will be more frequent.



                                                                                                                                [1]: Consumption of wood for heating in the region of Hauts-de-France


Regarding my point of view, I think there is a future in heating from the forest products. If the management of forests is good, the forest plots are growing every year. But it will need time to change the habits and also to implement new incentives.




[1]: Fibois Hauts-de-France (2016): Qu'est-ce que le bois énergie?,, visited on 30.01.19

[2]: Filho, Wilson Jordão (2010): Biomass for power generation and combined heat & power (CHP),, visited on 30.01.19 

[3]: Le Billon, Véronique (2018): Electricité: la France forcée de s'appuyer sur le gaz et le charbon, Les Echos, , visited on 30.01.19

[4]: Ministere de la Transition ecologique et solidaire (2016): Loi de transition énergétique pour la croissance verte,, visited on 30.01.2016

[5]: Picbleu (2018): Le bois déchiqueté de chauffage caractéristiques prix,, visited on 30.01.19

[6]: PROFESSIONSBOIS (2018): Le bois de chauffage, une énergie renouvelable,, visited on 30.01.2019

[7]: Quelle Energie (2017): Quels types de chauffage par énergie en 2017?,, visited on 30.01.19

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