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Pellets in Spain
Yeray Manuel López Gómez
Edit : Arthur Guénégo

           1.        Description of the product

In Spain, pellets are not a common product for energy cause the main products used are fossil fuels. Wood pellets is a good way to reduce CO2 when it's well managed, with notably a efficient tracking in reforestation. Therefore it's also an option to fight against climate change and it is sustainable resources whereas fossil fuels are not.

There are many different types of pellets made of different materials, but wood pellets are the most usual type of pellets fuel, which are generally made from compacted sawdust, increasing the density and calorific power. The sawdust comes from industrial waste commonly from sawmill, silviculture operation (branches, the top of the tree…). [1]

Although it has many advantages, the actual situation in Spain is quite far from the rest in Europe (Spain consumes 2% of pellets in the European Union and produce 3%) [2], and the main reason is the limited raw material.

 

           2.       Description of the market

                Figure 1: Development of pellets production in Spain (t/year) [8].

 

 

According to Avebiom (Asociación Española de Valorización Energética de la Biomasa), in Spain there are 83 pellets factories, and the production capacity is over 2.000.000 tons/year. Nowadays there are 35 plants with certificated production (ENplus), and these factories are located in different region of Spain [3]. In 2016, Spain was the third country around the world with more certificated pellets in the market [9]

The regions that have more plants are the following [4]:

-          11 in Andalucía

-          11 Castilla y León.

-          10 in Castilla La Mancha.

-          8 in Galicia.

-          6 in Catalonia.

In 2015 Spain consumed 400.000 tons of the 20.3 million European and produced 475.000 tons of 14.1 million. The Spanish production capacity was 1.250.000 tons [2]. The forecast for 2020 referred to the production will be 550.000 tons and the consumption 475.000 tons.

Also it is important to highlight that the production of the EU covers 70% of its demand, the rest comes from USA and Canada. Moreover the pellets consumption in EU goes to the production of heat (63.9%) and electricity (36.1%). [2]

 

           3.       Description of the policy measures.

Owing to the actual situation related to the climate change, many countries have taken policy measures. Spain follows the Renewable Energy Plan 2011-2020 stablishing objectives in accordance with the directive 2009/28/CE part of European Package of Energy and Climate Change which stablishes that the following objectives have to be achieved by 2020: 20% improvement in energy efficiency, use of renewable energies by 20%, reduction of greenhouse gases by 20%. However the percentage of reduction of greenhouse gases could increase, reaching 30% by 2020. [5]

RDL 1/20212 has harm renewable energies, when it was approved in 2012, the economic incentives were suspended for all installation of electricity production (coming from renewable energy sources) [6]. This situation has affected to investments, jobs and technological developments.

 

           4.       Evaluation of the effects of these measures.

The use of pellets in Spain has increased the last years, this product helps not only to fight climate change, it also keeps the forest clean preventing forest fires (which it has an important role in Spain), pellets plants give second opportunities for industrial waste (sawdust, branches, stumps..) obtaining profit from them. Moreover it can be applied for agriculture industries.

As we have seen before, there is a huge step imposted by norms and certifications. In fact, it said that Spain produces 3% of the EU production (what is low) whereas its production of certificated pellets is the third bigger around the world. I find these numbers are misleading and complicated to understand correctly the situation of pellet market in Spain.

Spain has a high dependence in fossil fuels (72.3%) while in EU is 54%, [7] renewable technologies and political changes are fundamental tools to solve this problem. These political changes are needed in order to get close to the production capacity.

However other renewable energies should be taken into account, such as hydraulics, solar and wind power, where Spain can better competitor.

 

 

 

Reference


[1]   Few information about wood pellet and its utilisation. AVAILABLE FROM : 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pellet_fuel

 

[2]  Numbers to understand the difference between reel pellet production and production capacity. AVAILABLE FROM : 

https://www.forest-monitor.com/en/pellets-production-spain-not-reach-40-installed-capacity/

 

[3]  Understand the repartition of pellet production plant across Spain and its development. AVAILABLE FROM : 

 https://www.ocu.org/vivienda-y-energia/calefaccion/noticias/aumenta-produccion-pellets-espana 

 

[4]  Understand the repartition of pellet production plant across Spain and its development. AVAILABLE FROM : 

http://energetica21.com/noticia/espana-cuenta-con-83-fabricas-de-pellets-7-menos-que-en-2017

 

[5]  Government's scheduling for sustainable energies from 2011 to 2020. AVAILABLE FROM :

http://www.idae.es/tecnologias/energias-renovables/plan-de-energias-renovables-2011-2020

 

[6]  Measure taken by Spanish government. AVAILABLE FROM :

http://generaciondistribuida.blogspot.com/2012/02/moratoria-renovable-rdl-12012.html

 

[7]  Website of compagnies specialized in sustainable energies. AVAILABLE FROM :

https://www.appa.es/energias-renovables/renovables-en-espana/

 

[8]  Study about pellet uses in Spain and Portugal. AVAILABLE FROM :

http://digibuo.uniovi.es/dspace/bitstream/10651/17969/3/TFMCarlosAntoranzCastroProteg.pdf

 

[9]  International overview of the Spanish pellet market. AVAILABLE FROM :

https://elperiodicodelaenergia.com/espana-es-el-tercer-pais-del-mundo-con-mas-pellets-certificados-en-el-mercado/

 

 

 

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