Flemish power sector in Belgium may have stopped cofiring wood pellets following a reinterpretation of Flemish law, retroactive to Jan. 1, finds USDA GAIN report, noting decision jeopardizes all existing, proposed wood-pellet power projects in Flanders

LOS ANGELES , June 6, 2014 () – The Flemish power sector in Belgium may have stopped cofiring with wood pellets after a reinterpretation of Flemish law in mid-February, according to a report filed with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN), Biomass Magazine reported on June 4.

The reinterpretation, retroactive to Jan. 1, holds that the Belgium government cannot grant green certificates, which it uses to fund the production of renewable energy, to biomass that is classified as an industrial resource. This includes biomass that can be used for compost, housing, paper or particleboard.

The changes mean that the issuance of credits will be based on technical rather than distance criteria, the report noted. In practice, the Belgian power sector only automatically accepts five types of wood: bark, wood dust sized at 0.2 millimeters or smaller, wood with a maximum diameter of 4 centimeters, stumps with a maximum diameter of 30 centimeters aboveground and plantation wood.

Previously, two Flemish agencies issued the certificates with the consent of Belgium’s wood industry federation, which held that wood pellet production did not cause competition for their resources because 90% of pellets used were made in North America, the GAIN report noted.

An estimated 18% of U.S. wood pellet exports were sent to Belgium in 2013, making it the second-highest importer of U.S. wood pellets behind the United Kingdom, according to recently released data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

The Flemish power situation said the legal reinterpretation jeopardizes all existing and proposed wood-pellet power projects in Flanders, the GAIN report noted.

The primary source of this article is Biomass Magazine June 4, 2014. Click here to see the original article.

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