Scottish ministers have welcomed an increase in the use of woodfuel in Scotland.
While the move is great news for small scale rural businesses, it will also contribute towards Scotland’s effort to cut carbon emissions.
A report on ’Woodfuel Demand and Usage in Scotland’ was commissioned by Forestry Commission Scotland.
The report showed the total woodfuel used in 2014 rose to 1.1 million oven dry tonnes, which is an increase of 361,000 on the figure reported in 2012, which was largely due to the introduction of six large schemes.
This increase helped reduce the use of other high-carbon energy sources, and cut Carbon Dioxide emissions by 1.3 million tonnes in 2014. This is equivalent to the emissions from driving a Ford Focus (1.6) 9.6 billion km in a year.
Environment Minister, Dr Aileen McLeod said ’woodfuel is a fantastic resource which is delivering benefits to rural communities on several fronts’.
Dr McLeod explained: "As well as sustaining many small-scale supplier businesses, it also makes significant fuel cost savings for those rural businesses that have installed non-domestic boilers.
“The increased use of woodfuel and the continuing shift towards greater use of renewable heat also helps to create specialist employment opportunities for maintenance engineers and improves woodland management as woodland owners aim to establish a stable, sustainable woodfuel supply.
“It makes an impressive contribution to Scotland’s effort to tackle climate change by helping to meet our renewable heat target and aiding our ongoing drive to cut CO2 emissions.
“I am also very heartened to note that further expansion is anticipated in the next few years.”
In total, woodfuel accounted for over 90 per cent of the total renewable heat output in 2013 and 2014 in Scotland.
The estimated contribution to the Scottish Government’s renewable heat targets of 2,036k megawatt hours in 2013, and 2,744k megawatt hours in 2014.