the price of wood pellets increases, “this is the mustard pot or toilet paper effect”

The price of wood pellets or wood pellets has increased significantly in the past months. The shortage is felt and this winter is likely to be expensive for many French people. Will the event last?

No one knows how far the price of wood pellets (or granules) will increase. In July 2021, a ton of pellets in a 15-kilo bag cost about 280 euros, in August 2022 it exceeded 500 euros.

Now if you want to buy your bags of pellets, you have to order. The shortage is there and the shops that escape the rule are rare. The usual summer promotions will no longer exist in August 2022. Far from it, prices are increasing almost every day and deliveries take several weeks.

In Lorraine and Alsace we have resources thanks to the Vosges mountains. So how do we explain this situation?

We contacted two producers in the Vosges mountains, on the Lorraine side and on the Alsatian side. Both made it clear that they did not want to speak in front of the media. Ditto for the wood pellets supplier contacted.

Propellet, the national association of wood pellet heating professionals, evokes a tense energy market in France and Europe with high prices for energy (electricity and gas) and raw materials (transportation and packaging) because of the conflict in Ukraine.

To produce a ton of pellets, we now have an additional cost of between 100 and 130 euros, which is linked to the general increase in the cost of sawdust production.explained Eric Vial, president of Propellet. Manufacturers from the Grand Est region may have a lot of demand from Germany, which is now, together with Italy, the country with the highest prices in the European market.

In France, sales of pellet stoves and pellet boilers are booming, driven by state aid. Between 2020 and 2021, the installation of pellet stoves increased by 41% and pellet boilers by 120%. The demand for pellet heating is growing rapidly.

“Communities that previously used pellets as auxiliary heating, want to do without gas completely switching to 100% pellets, which creates a greater demand which the sector is struggling to meet”, added Eric Vial, president of the national association of wood pellet heating professionals.

The market is also angry in Europe where power plants running on pellets represent a consumption of 17 million tons. This is the same as for private pellet heating. The disruption of pellet deliveries to Russia, Belarus and Ukraine created a shortage of 3 million tons in Europe.

“The law of supply and demand creates, internationally, speculation that increases prices. In France we are very competitive and we are almost self-sufficient”, continued Eric Vial. ” With strong demand, we import 16% of our pellet consumption, at higher prices. As a result, the market price is higher. ”

As for individuals, the professionals provoke an overstocking of pellets. “It’s the effect of the mustard pot or the lack of toilet paperadded Mr. vial, People make stocks and deprive others, then sell them again on the Internet.”

To meet the demand, the professionals asked the State to become a stakeholder, by facilitating the development of pellet production units. The sector plans an additional million tons produced between 2021 and 2024 and a doubling of production capacity by 2028.

New pellet factories will definitely see the light of day. French energy giants (such as the Total group) may be interested in this sector. Due to the general situation, the cost of pellets may continue to rise to reach a price of 600 euros per ton of bags of pellets at the beginning of the school year.

Currently, heating wood pellets remains the most economical method compared to electricity or gas. The question is: until when?

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