The status of bioenergy in Republic of Karelia

8.4.2015 at 09:25

Maxim Trishkin

The Republic of Karelia is part of the Northwestern Federal District of the Russia. It represents approximately 1% of the country’s territory (180 500 km2). The Karelian border from the western is bordering with Finland. Therefore, it is important to understand what the status of bioenergy in the neighboring region is and what the possibilities for co-operation in relation to that.


The forestry and mining are the key sectors contributing to the Karelian budget. The total forest area in Republic is approximately 15 million ha, with a growing stock of 946 million m3. Forests are covering about 53% of the territory. The annual allowable cut is

about 9 million m3, whereas the total actual cut was during last 5 years was around 5-6 million m3 in 2009. Therefore the forestry resources in Republic of Karelia are underutilized. The majority of harvested wood in Republic of Karelia is done by cut-to-length (or Scandinavian) method. The proportion of it has grown rapidly during the last 15 years and nowadays over 90% are cut-to length method.

The Republic of Karelia has high potential of utilization of bioenergy from forest resources. Thus, according to study made by Gerasimov and Karjalainen in 2009 (Natural Resource Institute Finland) the potential volumes of energy wood is about 2.3 mill m3. It includes 62% of industrial wood, 18% of harvested stumps, 9% of branches and 11% of defective wood from logging. According to Regional Development Programme (2007) it is economically feasible to harvest logging residues on 26% of harvesting sites. On a contrary adopted Energy Strategy (2009) in Republic of Karelia is focusing mainly on hydropower generation. Nevertheless, adopted Regional Programme (2007) and Regional Development Strategy (2010) aimed to promote use of local resources which includes firewood and logging residues, also production of forest chips and wood pellets. Especially it is relevant for remote areas which will not be covered by Federal Programme on gasification of regions of Russia (2005), meaning construction of gas pipelines to the regions. The hindering factor of development of stable bioenergy source flow and its utilization in Republic of Karelia is absence of subsidies from the government. However it could be considered as an advantage in Finland, due to better price level and drastically change of currency exchange rate since November 2014, when ruble was devalued by 20-35% compare to Euro currency. Thus, it may have an impact on increasing share of renewable in Finland along with the strategy of European Union 20-20-20, if the import of biomass from Republic of Karelia will continue.


tag_blue forestry know-how, Finland, Republic of Karelia, EU 20-20-20, bioenergy



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Maxim Trishkin

Maxim Trishkin


The status of bioenergy in Republic of Karelia

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