Peat extraction in Finland slightly increases

This year, Finnish peat extraction increased from the previous season, but the set goals of the sector were not reached due to reduced production capacity and poor weather. Russia’s war on Ukraine has contributed to higher demand for milled energy peat in Finland.

According to the data collected by Bioenergia ry, about 4.8 million m3 of milled and sod energy peat (about 5 TWh) were extracted in the season of 2023.

Horticulture and bedding peat for animals total about 3 million m3. “The favorable weather at the beginning of summer and the dwindling peat stocks during the spring stimulated peat extraction to a good pace. However, rain that started on Midsummer prevented the achievement of the goals. There will be some regional shortage for energy sod and bedding peat,” said Pasi Rantonen, chairman of Bioenergia ry’s Peat Committee.

“Regarding future supply security, the summer could have been better. The demand for sod and horticultural as well as bedding peat continues to be strong.

Much production capacity has been lost in recent years, and summers like this show how challenging it is to utilise short dry periods in the nowadays low-lying fields”, said Bioenergia ry branch manager Hannu Salo.

Peat extraction has become accustomed to changing weather and demand. In the past, however, it was possible to use stocks if needed. Now, there may not be such an extra annual buffer anymore.

The active peat extraction area in Finland has been in sharp decline in recent years. The licenced area was 0.8 per cent of the total peatland area in 2021.

In 2022, 29 per cent of the country’s energy was produced with wood, and 3 per cent with peat.

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