A Growing Resource for Our Future
The United States has more than 751 million acres of forest - accounting for 37.6% of its landmass - that supports a quarter of the world's forest production.
The total acreage devoted to US forests has barely changed over the last century. Despite rapid population growth and increased demand for timber, the number of trees in US forests has increased every year for more than 50 years.
Additionally, the net volume of trees per acre has increased 94% since 1953 in the US Southeast, the region where a majority of industrial-grade wood pellets shipped to Europe are sourced and produced.
Industrial Wood Pellets are an Essential Part of the Energy Mix
As part of its climate change commitments, Europe set ambitious goals for the reduction of carbon emissions. Because wind and solar projects are time and capital intensive, this goal can only be met if the combination of renewable energy sources includes wood pellets.
Industrial wood pellets from the southern US are already helping Europe develop a low-carbon economy that meets its renewable energy targets. This complementary technology will help utilities balance the grid as they increase their reliance on solar and wind energy. Industrial wood pellets can be quickly deployed to fill gaps in supply, and easily adjusted to meet daily fluctuations in energy demand.industry.
Wood pellets are the only readily available source of renewable energy that is capable of providing consistent energy to meet demand. This renewable resource can also be used in the same furnaces that currently fire coal with minimal investment, enable utilities to use existing infrastructure without having to spend billions on new technologies and new facilities. This reduces emissions while keep electricity rates low and stable for consumers.
Industrial Wood Pellet Markets are Contributing to the Revival
of the Forest Products Industry
Working forests require markets, including energy markets for low-quality wood fiber. These new markets for wood fiber create powerful incentives to maintain forests for generations to come.
According to the US Forest Service, 25% of all forest sector mills in the US South have closed since 2005 and the demand for forest products has decreasing since the economic downturn.
87% of forest in the Southeast are owned by small forest owners. Timber markets, now made stronger with the biomass-to-energy market, provide economic incentives to ensure that landowners keep their forests well maintained, and do not sell or convert their land to other uses.
Privately owned forests generate more than 2.8 million jobs and contribute $119 billion to the nationals gross domestic product, according to a recent report by the National Alliance of Forest Owners.
[Bioenergy] provides a reliable energy source while providing opportunity for my state, among others in the southeastern US, to put people back to work. – Georgia Governor Nathan Deal
Increased global demand for industrial wood pellets is helping to reduce emissions in Europe and creating much-needed jobs within the forest industry in the United States.