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The Voice of Canada’s growing pellet sector
  • Video: Heating with Wood Pellets

    Heating with wood pellets is an effective way to help in the fight against climate change.

  • Video: Wood Pellet Association of Canada

    Existing coal plants can be cost-effectively repurposed to use wood pellet fuel to help the environment and reduce air pollution.

  • Pellets

    Made from renewable forest byproducts and unmerchantable material, wood pellets from Canada provide a renewable, sustainable fuel source for generations to enjoy. | Read More

  • Sustainable

    Only 9% of the world’s forest are certified. Over 42% of them are in Canada, making it an ideal source for sustainable wood pellets. | Read More

  • Renewable

    WPAC members rely on sawmill waste and forest harvest residuals for the bulk of their fibre supply, allowing 100% resource use. | Read More

  • Fossil Fuel Alternative

    Whether on their own or co-fired with coal, wood pellets provide a lower carbon footprint and renewable energy source. | Read More

  • Innovative

    WPAC continues to support R&D in key wood pellet areas like safety, efficiency, fuel stability, energy content and more. | Read More

December 1, 2015 - Latvia is a tiny Northern European country located east of Denmark on the Baltic Sea. Aided by a magnifying glass, it is possible to see Latvia on a map, bordered by Estonia to the north, Russia and Belarus to the east, and Lithuania to the south. 

This diminutive country has emerged as a wood pellet powerhouse on pace to rival Canada. Consider this: Latvia currently produces 1.4 million tonnes of wood pellets annually from a forest area of just 27,000 square kilometres. Canada produces 2 million tonnes from a forest area that is 115 times greater than Latvia’s – some 1.3 million square hectares. Each year, Latvia produces 52 tonnes of wood pellets per square kilometre of forest. For Canada to match that, we would have to produce more than 160 million tonnes annually!

In October 2015, I visited Latvia for meetings of the European Pellet Council –governing body of EUplus pellet quality certification scheme. For several of us that arrived early, Didzis Palejs, chairman of the Latvian Biomass Association, arranged a visit to a pellet plant owned by SBE Latvia Ltd. and two wood pellet storage and loading facilities at the Port of Riga and the Port of Marsrags. The pellet producer Latgran uses the port of Riga while SBE uses Marsrags, about 100 kilometres west of Riga.

SBE’s modern pellet plant produces 70,000 tonnes of wood pellets per year for European industrial and heat markets, mainly in Denmark, United Kingdom, Belgium and the Netherlands. SBE is ENplus certified for pellet quality and has the distinction of being the first pellet producer in Europe, and only second in the world, to earn the new SBP sustainability certification. SBEs uses a combination of sawmill residuals and chips as feedstock. Feedstock suppliers source low-grade round wood, chipping it before delivery to SBE.

Over the past three years, Latvia’s pellet production has grown from a little less than 1 million tonnes to its current level of 1.4 million tonnes. There are 23 pellet plants of various sizes. The largest producer is AS Granuul Invest. Having recently acquired Latgran, Granuul’s combined annual capacity in the Baltic Region is 1.8 million tonnes meaning this one company produces nearly as much as all of Canada!

Latvian producers are now nipping at Canada’s heels in the U.K. market. In 2014, Canada exported 899,000 tonnes of wood pellets to the U.K., compared to 402,000 tonnes from Latvia. However, in 2015, Latvian producers have narrowed the gap.  As of August 31, Canada had exported 734,000 tonnes to the U.K. with Latvia not far behind at 602,000 tonnes.

Latvia’s forests are productive with annual growth estimated at 20 million cubic metres. The annual harvest is only about 11 million cubic metres, barely more than half of the annual growth. The main commercial species are spruce, pine, and birch.

Latvia is a former Soviet Bloc country. Although the Latvians kicked the Soviets out in 1991, there are many crumbling reminders of that era – ugly apartment buildings, abandoned factories, naval bases, farm buildings and so forth. Despite these physical reminders, Latvian citizens have rid themselves of the communist legacy and embraced free enterprise. In my short visit, I found Latvians to be friendly, hard working, and entrepreneurial. Latvia’s pellet sector has much room to grow and has every intention of continuing as a global force.




Gordon Murray is executive director of the Wood Pellet Association of Canada. Gordon can be contacted by telephone at 250-837-8821 or by e-mail at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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Safety

WPAC Safety Committee

The Board of Directors has appointed the Safety Committee to manage the safety objectives of the Wood Pellet Association of Canada ("WPAC"). The Safety Committee works in close cooperation with the BC Forest Safety Council.

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Power Generation

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Sustainable power

The vast majority of Canadian wood pellets are made from sawmill residuals - sawdust. The rest are made from the residuals from harvesting operations for sawmills and pulp mills, or low-grade timber from forest industry harvest sites that has no other economic value. Think firewood. Read more...

Breathing easier - pellet emissions vs coal

Sustainability should be top of mind for any company that wants to stay in the game in today’s world.

As important a role as Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions play, we also need to focus on noxious emissions versus coal.

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Industry News

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  • Survey reveals lack of investor understanding of bioproducts sector

    Dec. 14, 2018 – A survey of Canadian industrial bioproducts companies has revealed that a more intensive communications strategy is necessary to bring to light successes and opportunities for investors in this emerging sector of the Canadian economy.The survey, conducted by[…]

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  • Construction begins on North America's largest organic waste-to-energy facility

    Construction begins on North America's largest organic waste-to-energy facility Dec. 14, 2018 – Anaergia Inc. is pleased to announce the start of construction at the Rialto Bioenergy Facility (RBF).The RBF will help address two pressing waste management issues in Southern California: food waste diversion from landfills and biosolids management. The[…]

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The Pellet Advantage

Efficient and Plentiful Production

Wood Pellet Association of Canada members are world leaders in the design and operation of modern pellet plants.

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Innovating our way to a safer, better product

Wood pellets are a safe, reliable modern fuel. But they are still a fuel, requiring care in producing, shipping and storing.

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Renewable and sustainable? Energy really can grow on trees.

There is no single energy source capable of solving our dependence on fossil fuels. Instead we need to look to a mix of new fuels, including wood pellets.

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Argus Wood Pellet Index

US$ per metric tonneArgus Wood Pellet Index

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