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Global trade impacts of increasing Europe's bioenergy demand

Craig Johnston and Gerrit van Kooten

Journal of Forest Economics, 2016, vol. 23, issue C, 27-44

Abstract: European governments are rapidly turning to biomass to comply with the EU's legislated renewable energy targets for 2020 and 2030. To do so, EU member states will likely have to increase imports of biomass from timber rich regions, which will undoubtedly disrupt international wood product markets. In this study, a static global forest trade model of coniferous wood products is used to examine the effects of expanded demand for wood pellets in Europe to generate reliable electricity. Positive mathematical programming (PMP) is used to calibrate the model to 2012 bilateral trade flows. To assess the impact of increased wood-pellet demand on global forest products, we consider a scenario where EU demand for wood pellets doubles. Model results suggest increases in the world prices of industrial roundwood (1%), particleboard ($34/m3), fibreboard ($30/m3), pulp ($65/t) and pellets (71% to 128%), while the prices of sawnwood and plywood & veneer are projected to fall by $12/m3 and $4/m3, respectively. The gains and losses are unevenly distributed between timber rich and timber poor regions; Russia, Canada and the U.S. experience large net welfare gains of $706 million, $544 million and $416 million, respectively, while Asia loses $1.8 billion. In the forest products sector, the gains outweigh losses with economic benefits increasing by some $4.9 billion, but this is a cost to the consumers of electricity and/or taxpayers in the regions implementing these renewable energy policies. The price of wood pellets is projected to rise between $107 and $154 per tonne. The findings highlight the need to account for the interconnections among softwood forest products globally.

Keywords: Bioenergy; Wood pellets; Forestry; Vertical and horizontal markets (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q17 Q23 Q31 Q42 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2016
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DOI: 10.1016/j.jfe.2015.11.001

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