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Warm 2020 resulted in net export for Swedish pellet producers

Several years of high average temperature have affected the Swedish demand for wood pellets for heating. In 2020, domestic demand decreased by about 25 percent or 509 471 tonnes. Pellet exports increased to the highest level in over a decade according to an annual survey of Swedish pellet producers conducted by the Swedish trade publication, Tidningen Bioenergi.

Several years of high average temperature have affected the Swedish demand for wood pellets for heating. In 2020, domestic demand decreased by about 25 percent or 509 471 tonnes. Pellet exports increased to the highest level in over a decade according to an annual survey of Swedish pellet producers conducted by the Swedish trade publication, Tidningen Bioenergi.

Tidningen Bioenergi’s annual survey responses from pellet producers in Sweden show that pellet production in 2020 was 1 659 639 tonnes, a modest decrease of 44 000 tonnes or  2.6 percent compared with 2019. However, the reduced domestic demand has had a major impact on both pellet imports and exports.

Several years of high average temperature has reduced the overall demand for pellets, which are primarily used for residential, and commercial space heating, year-on-year. This has led to increasing stock inventories at the larger pellet consumers that in 2020 did not buy the same quantities as in a normal year.

The assessment of the market demand for pellets in Sweden is estimated by starting from the production of pellets, subtracting exports, and adding imports. No consideration of changes in pellet stocks at suppliers and users is taken into account.

According to the survey, just over 1.5 million tonnes of pellets were used in Sweden in 2020, corresponding to approximately 7.3 TWh while imports decreased by 73 percent to 120 000 tonnes. Exports increased by 130 percent to 264 000 tonnes.

This gives a net export of pellets of 144 000 tonnes of pellets from Sweden in 2020, the first time in at least a decade that Sweden has had a net export of pellets.

Higher average temperatures is the most important explanation for the heat demand and thus the demand for pellets decreased in Sweden 2020. The average temperature was higher than normal in both 2019 and 2020. In the Mälardalen region, the heat demand was 7.2 percent lower in 2019 and 17.6 percent lower in 2020 compared to a normal year. Reduced demand from industry, due to the pandemic, may also have had an effect, said Anders Haaker, Editor-in-Chief of Tidningen Bioenergi.

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