Wood has valuable qualities as a fuel and is a clean, efficient and renewable energy source. Using more wood for energy, especially heating, will help to reduce CO2 emissions and make a contribution to the Welsh Government’s targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Read on to learn how woodfuel reduces CO2 emissions and how using home-grown woodfuel can benefit Wales. Find out how to apply for a grant from the Wood Energy Business Scheme and support the development of the Welsh woodfuel market.
Wood releases carbon dioxide when it is burnt so how does using woodfuel reduce CO2 emissions?
- When wood is sustainably grown and managed, woodfuel reduces CO2 emissions. Although burning wood releases carbon dioxide, this is balanced by the carbon dioxide that has been absorbed in the original growth of the trees and in the growth of new ones.
- Wood can be viewed as a form of 'stored solar energy', captured by the trees themselves as they grow.
- Using wood for energy is more carbon efficient than unlocking carbon that has been stored for hundreds of millions of years, which is what happens when fossil fuels such as coal or oil are burnt.
How can home-grown supplies of wood for fuel help us in Wales?
If more woodlands are brought into active management and if the total area of woodland is increased, it would be possible to replace imported woodfuel with home-grown supplies. This would be beneficial both to our economy and to the environment.
The management technique known as short rotation forestry is another option to produce woodfuel. Often used to produce biomass for fuel, this technique uses fast growing species which are grown in an intensive system. The intervals between harvesting differ which results in differing sizes of timber that are suitable for use as fuel.
Are grants available for managing woodlands in Wales?
Using wood from well-managed woodlands as a renewable source of fuel can give woodland owners an incentive to manage their land productively.
The Glastir Woodland Creation Scheme encourages landowners to view their woodlands as an asset. From 2013, existing woodland will be eligible for grant aid for management via this scheme.
What grants are available for businesses to develop the wood heat market in Wales?
The Wood Energy Business Scheme (WEBS) is a £20 million pan-Wales project that provides capital grant support to businesses for woodfuel heating systems and processing equipment.
WEBS is managed by Forestry Commission Wales and is part-funded with £7.8 million from the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government.