Intense price competition between fossil fuels, peat and prioritized renewable energy
Energy peat has an important role to play in the European energy mix. The EU aims to combat climate change by increasing the use of renewable energy. Even though heat and power production should use as much renewable (e.g. wood based) biomass fuels as possible, many of the peat producing Member States still rely on large quantities of imported fossil fuels. Energy peat can contribute to decreasing the dependence on imported fuels.
Considering all the benefits of energy peat usage (energy production, economy, social, climate etc.) the present situation should be regarded as poor resource management. State of art techniques and political instruments have minimized the negative environmental impact caused by peat production. Therefore, it is important to guarantee the competitiveness and availability of energy peat in the EU.
In some of the peat producing Member States the benefits of locally produced energy peat are recognized through support schemes (such as Ireland and Sweden) or lower heat taxation for peat compared with imported fossil fuels (Finland) performing the same function. Nevertheless, competitiveness of locally produced energy peat is compromised in many EU countries due to intense price competition from imported fossil fuels and the priority status given to renewable energy sources.
Taking into account the EU target to increase the market price of emission allowances around 2020, peat competitiveness will decrease even more due to the high specific emission factor of energy peat. However, using peat for energy should be compared to letting it decompose naturally in millions of hectares of drained peatlands causing high carbon dioxide emissions without any benefit.
Peat’s competitiveness could be ensured by:
Recognising that peat can contribute to increasing energy security and independence in some Member States;
Recognising the economic benefits of energy peat usage;
Recognising technical benefits of peat usage supporting the usage of biomass;
Recognising technical benefits and energy efficiency increase due to peat usage;
Recognising environmental and climate impact of drained peatlands and the benefit of rewetting in order to promote alternative use of peat;
Introducing modern nature protection principles assuring the protection of all valuable peatlands.
To study more about EPE’s position, please have a look on this document.