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Blog

How is COVID-19 Impacting the Global Bioenergy Sector?

April 28, 2020
Author: John Greene

The COVID-19 pandemic may have temporarily changed the way a number of businesses interact with customers, but those supporting essential industries who have remained on the “front lines” to minimize disruptions and downtime are true heroes during this challenging time. As essential employees, participants in the forest products supply chain have demonstrated real determination in delivering the forest products we all rely on, including those involved in the wood bioenergy sector.

Industrial wood pellet production in the US South is still running smoothly and at capacity to meet overseas demand.

 

Did You Know?

With electricity demand down 18 percent year-over-year due to the pandemic, Great Britain has run for a new record of 18 days, six hours and 15 minutes without burning coal to generate electricity. This means CO2 emissions from the country’s electricity system have been cut by a third during the coal-free stretch relative to the same period last year, per Carbon Brief.

Renewables have been the largest source of electricity produced during this period, as supply has been created by:

  • Renewables: 37 percent
  • Gas: 32 percent
  • Nuclear: 22 percent
  • Imports: 9 percent

 

WATCH: Stan Parton on the current state of the wood biopower and biofuels sectors.

 

 

A separate article by The Guardian quantifies the total impact the global “shelter in place” orders are having on fossil energy use: “The unprecedented restrictions on travel, work and industry due to the coronavirus is expected to cut billions of barrels of oil, trillions of cubic metres of gas and millions of tonnes of coal from the global energy system in 2020 alone, according to data commissioned by the Guardian. This would lead to the fossil fuel industry’s biggest drop in CO2 emissions on record, in a single year eclipsing the carbon slumps triggered by the largest recessions of the last 50 years combined.”

The article continues, “Climate experts expected global carbon emissions from fossil fuels and cement production to rise in 2020, from an estimated 36.8bn tonnes of carbon dioxide last year. Instead, emissions may fall by about 5%, or 2.5bn tonnes of CO2, to its lowest levels in about a decade.”

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