Firewood Shortage in France: Cost of Logs Up 20%, and Pellet Costs Have Tripled

In France, firewood shortages are escalating and so have prices, which are up more than 20% since June. The increase is the result of increasing demand, as more people enter the market amid fears over the price of other fuel sources. Firewood providers in France are now warning that there will not be enough wood for everyone this winter.

The noticeable increase is partially due to the number of households in the market. In 2019, a report from the wood group le Comité national pour le développement du bois estimated there were “between 7.5 to 8.0 million households in France using a firewood fueled heating source installed, and that includes both logs and wood pellets.” However, in 2022, the energy agency l’Agence de l’environnement et de la de maîtrise l’énergie (Ademe) said that the France’s government is aiming to have 9.5 million households using woodfired energy by 2023 and 11.3 million by 2028.

Gérard Fellous, director of Quality-bûches, said in an interview with Le Figaro, “Over the last few weeks, Ademe has greatly promoted heating with pellets. But this has caused a significant increase in the price of wood. Pellet prices have tripled over the past six months, leading to rises in logs and our costs.”

Mr. Fellous stated that the cost of raw wood has risen by 20%, requiring producers to pass the cost onto their customers. He said: “I have seen three rises since the start of the summer, which are purely due to repercussions from [rising] prices from the supplier.” Demand began early, in July this year, when usually it only starts in autumn.

“Without doing any advertising, I receive 100 calls per day, which I send straight to voicemail. This has never happened, it’s unheard of,” a heating wood supplier said.

Adding to the confusion is a change in a law from September 1, 2022, which requires wood sellers to offer clients information on their wood, including about the fuel, length, quantity, and moisture levels. From September 2023 forward, logs measuring less than two meters must only be of dry wood. And this is likely to cause extra fuel shortages in the future, because it takes 18–24 months to fully dry firewood.

FEA compiles the Wood Markets News from various 3rd party sources to provide readers with the latest news impacting forest product markets. Opinions or views expressed in these articles do not necessarily represent those of FEA.