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Wind turbines or trees? Energy poverty leads to increase in wood stove sales.

David Norman — CountyLive.ca — January 28, 2013

A couple of weeks back, the Wall Street Journal published an article about the increasing devastation of forests (trees) in Greece, where as a result of the high cost of energy, impoverished folks who cannot afford electricity or fuel have turned to wood stoves to heat their homes and cook their food.

Although we Canadian’s tend to see Greece as having a much warmer weather, winters in the north and higher elevations are more like those temperatures experienced on the coast of southern British Columbia.

The article went on to highlight the plight of a young man caught chopping down a tree on public land in the mountains near Athens. When confronted he “broke down in tears” pleading that “he was unemployed and needed the wood to warm the home
he shares with his wife and four small children”.

This is not an isolated incident, in Greece, Germany, France, Spain, Britain, etc. the rate of forest wood poaching for heat and cooking has increased dramatically over the last several years in concert with energy prices.

Fuel poverty in these countries which have embraced the fallacious  economics and efficacy of subsidized wind and solar energy, has become endemic. Last September, Reuters reported that in the already troubled economy of Greece, the electricity system was near collapse when the market operator LAGHE was overextended by the subsidies it pays to wind and solar power producers.

The other day I was in a wood stove retailer shop in Trenton and had an interesting conversation with the owner. He told me that the sales of wood stoves, wood pellet and wood boilers, particularly the high efficiency models had more than tripled in the last few years.

This coincides with reports from Britain where it is reported that 180,000 new wood stoves were installed in 2011, and in Germany that same year over 400,000 wood and coal burning stoves were purchased for heating ue to increasing rising energy costs. This has led to increasing  thefts of wood fuel and rampant poaching of trees on public and private land. And they’re not just burning seasoned wood… plywood, treated, lacquered and painted wood, books, cardboard, paper waste, all which release other dangerous chemical particulates into the air, are being used to create much needed heat.

(To continue reading, click here)

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