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Abstract

Biomass is a major source of renewable energy in the EU and Poland, stimulating the growth of the wood pellet sector. Wood pellet demand is stimulated by a complex interaction of market forces and policies including EU climate, energy, and environmental regulations, Poland’s program to improve air quality, and subsidies for the replacement of inefficient stoves used by households. This article focuses on the growth of the wood pellet industry, imports and exports in Poland, and wood pellet quality and use by households. The main issues faced by the EU wood pellet sector between 2013 and 2016 are further considered in the context of opinions of Polish wood pellet manufacturers. Industry opinions were collected in response to an open-ended question that probed for the main issues faced by wood pellet producers during the survey implemented by the authors in 2019. Respondents identified difficulties in obtaining raw material for pellet production and poor pellet quality as major problems. Although the majority did not feel concerned about competition from imported wood pellets, a small number of respondents viewed such competition as a problem reflecting the reversal of decreasing imports in 2017. Overall, the domestic wood pellet industry can be expected to grow because of increasing pressure to expand the use of renewable energy and will be driven by the household sector switching to more efficient, wood burning stoves. Additionally, the expanding area of private Polish forests may become a source of much-needed raw material for wood pellet manufacturing.

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