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Domestic Biomass Supply Chain Drop in Day

10th June 2013

Local shops and businesses across Highland are being encouraged to take advantage of a new retailing opportunity – bagged wood pellets for domestic biomass heating systems.
The Highland Council is hosting an event in Inverness on Thursday 20 June to encourage an increase in the supply of domestic biomass fuel across the area.

The event is to allow engagement between producers, delivery companies, shop outlets, supermarkets, solid fuel merchants and installers and aims to identify and encourage new suppliers and improve local supply chains.

The Highland Council is considering, along with other options, installing around 2,000 individual wood pellet heating systems into its council houses over the next few years. These systems will be offered to tenants in communties where there is no gas supply. Many of these properties currently have solid fuel heating. This work is part of the Council’s housing improvement programme which will make sure that its housing stock meets and exceeds the Scottish Housing Quality Standard by 2015.

There’s also expected to be an increase in demand from home owners for individual wood pellet heating systems once the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) starts next spring. The RHI will pay householders to generate and use renewable energy.

Chairman of the Finance, Housing & Resources Committee, Councillor Dave Fallows said: “Before we install these systems, we want to make sure that our tenants have access to locally accessible supplies of bagged wood pellets. Ideally households would be able to get wood pellets delivered to them each week through local delivery services - similar to the way that some currently get coal delivered.”

“We’ve already installed over 100 systems and our tenants have told us that they are very happy with their new wood pellet heating which they are finding easier to use and more affordable. They particularly enjoy being able to heat their home up quickly. ”

The Council has undertaken research which has quantified the anticipated demand from households throughout the year in each of the different communities. It also proposed a number of solutions for local suppliers and retailers who may wish to enter this market. Whilst it indicated that there are currently few wood pellet suppliers / retailers in much of the area, it identified several options which it wants to explore further.

Councillor Fallows added: “We need to let suppliers and retailers know about these new business opportunities and the size of the new market. We want to give them a chance to meet with wood pellet producers and delivery companies. Together they can explore retailing options for all the different communities.

“We are very keen to increase market interest and supply routes by promoting these new retailing opportunities and raising awareness of changes to the fuel supply market.

Creating better chains of outlets will make the delivery process more economic and avoid the situation where disproportionate delivery charges have to be added to the supply bill.”

The drop-in event will be held on Thursday 20th June from 10 am – 12 noon at The SEAM Centre Inverness College UHI. Invitations are being sent to a wide range of potential suppliers and retailers.

Registration is not required, just come along on the day. For more information, an invite or to discuss opportunities further, please contact Karen Maclean, Energy & Sustainability Team, The Highland Council on 01463 255276 or via email at Karen.Maclean[AT]highland.gov.uk

 

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