Energy peat is an important indigenous fuel for heating and electricity generation in the Nordic and Baltic countries and in Ireland. 0ne million Finns have their homes and offices heated fully or partly with energy peat. Sweden uses peat in combination with wood fuel to provide energy security and employment in sparsely populated regions. In Ireland, peat accounted for over 12% of the fuel mix used to generate electricity in 2015, and one million people use energy peat for home heating. In Latvia and Lithuania energy peat has the potential to help address the very real challenges of energy security and energy poverty. Estonia’s National Development Plan recognises the significant energy potential of peat.
Many of the peat producing Member States rely on large quantities of imported fossil fuels. Energy peat is an indigenous European Union energy that decreases this dependence on imported fuels and supports EU trade balances. The capability to produce this indigenous energy should be maintained as a hedge against future interruptions to energy supplies from outside of the EU. Energy peat is an important local fuel which strengthens energy independence in the regions.
Moreover the use of biomass with peat in energy production contributes to the achievement of climate goals. Using peat in combination with biomass increases the energy efficiency of CHP and power plants.
Harvesting of peat, including peat for horticulture, utilises less than 1% of European peatlands and is restricted to sites with low biodiversity value. Only peatlands that have already been drained for other purposes are selected for energy peat production. These drained peatlands continuously leak carbon into the atmosphere through oxidation of the peat, without the benefits that are gained from recovering the energy in the peat.
Peat production is carried out under strict environmental licencing systems. Energy Peat Europe (EPE) members follow the ‘Strategy for Responsible Peatland Management’ of the International Peatland Society and support Wise Use principles in peat production and peatland after use. EPE members continue to deliver exemplary sites for biodiversity, amenity, forestry, agriculture, and renewable energy after the peat production phase.
Significantly, energy peat is an important provider of employment for European citizens living in disadvantaged rural regions on the periphery of the European Union.
In summary, energy peat benefits the European Union by
increasing energy security and independence
supporting climate goals through wise use of energy peat
sustaining local jobs and communities in rural regions
For these reasons it is important to safeguard the competitiveness and availability of energy peat and its positive role in the European Union.