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Pellet shortage, should we be worried?

The wood pellet industry experienced an unprecedented crisis in spring 2022. A sharp increase in demand, a significant shortage, but also a significant increase in prices marked this year. How will the situation evolve? Should we be worried about 2023? Let's do a check in.

A critical situation in 2022 

The tense situation between Russia and Ukraine has led to a general rise in energy prices on the world market. Many French people then decided to turn to heating systems based on renewable energies such as wood pellets. Especially since the renewal of fuel oil appliances was prohibited from July 2022. Requests then increased considerably. But that's not all !

Particularly worried about the explosion in electricity and gas prices, consumers began to stock up on wood pellets from spring 2022. In addition, some bought more than usual, fearing a shortage reserves in winter. Added to this is a reduction in available stocks. In fact, 15% of wood pellets sold in France come from Ukraine, Russia or Belarus. And unfortunately, the importation was suspended due to the geopolitical context.

For their part, producers have already prepared for a significant increase in demand for wood pellets. However, they did not think that consumers would stock up so soon. Result ? They were taken by surprise by the phenomenon. Some suppliers were even forced to refuse customers. This is how the shortage set in.

Price increase 

The overall increase in energy prices induced by the Ukrainian situation has led to an increase in the costs of producing and transporting wood pellets. In fact, an additional cost of around €120 was observed for the production of a tonne of pellets. Suppliers were therefore forced to increase their selling prices.

But does this justify a price increase of almost 100% in one year? Because yes, the cost of a ton of wood pellets had increased from €300 to around €550 in just 1 year. To answer the question, a large portion of consumers think no. According to them, this is a suspicious maneuver. However, nothing seems to confirm this.

Conclusion: should we be worried about 2023?

Ultimately, the 2022 shortage was the consequence of various factors:

  • Increased demands due to the overall rise in the cost of energy;
  • Early supply to consumers;
  • Anticipatory storage.

It is therefore possible to avoid another crisis in 2023. To do this, we must above all avoid overstocking at the consumer level. Buy only the quantity you need. Also, it is important to properly maintain your devices in order to optimize their performance. For its part, the sector is already taking the necessary measures to increase production capacity by 2024 and double it by 2028. As for prices, they could fall, but the chances of them falling back to 'at 300 €/ton seems slim.