MPs stop subsidies for burning healthy wood as biomass

One of the reasons for preparing the amendment is the massive deforestation in Slovakia.

Illustrative stock photo(Source: SME)

Slovakia is to scrap subsidies for burning quality wood in biomass facilities. This stems from the amendment to the law on supporting renewable energy sources, authored by the opposition, which was adopted by parliament on December 6.

Under the new rules, only the combustion of wood from energy covers and waste from wood-processing industries will be subsidised, the SITA newswire reported.

Slovakia is losing trees

Read also:Trees in the Low Tatras felled without permission

One of the reasons for proposing the change was the more obvious deforestation not only of forests, but also river banks and in alleys, with the aim to draw as many subsidies as possible.

“Slovakia has lost 760 square kilometres of forests during the past 18 years,” opposition MPs said, as quoted by SITA. “Currently nearly 4 million cubic metres of wood are logged for energy purposes, while the sustainable logging of all wood on forest and non-forest land represents 5.8-6 million cubic metres of wood.”

The Regulatory Office for Network Industries (ÚRSO) has scrutinised the quality of wood combusted in biomass power plants several times. Although the regulation only permits the combustion of lower-quality wood, they often use more quality wood, the MPs for Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) and the Ordinary People and Independent Personalities (OĽaNO) claimed.

Based on the ÚRSO data, MPs want to secure the efficient inspection of the quality of combusted wood, SITA wrote.

They also pointed to the fact that generous subsidies increased the prices of wood chips to €58 per tonne.

Read also:Tree-cutting on the Danube’s bank angered nature conservationists

“This has made the processing of any type of wood economically unattractive,” MPs said, as quoted by SITA. “Subsidies thus create conditions resulting in the deformation of the energy market and an increase in electricity prices for consumers.”

The Association of Electricity and Heat from Biomass Producers called on MPs to withdraw the amendment from discussion, saying that the arguments are untrue. They also claimed that the changes are at odds with the European renewable energy directive, SITA wrote.

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