Impacts on climate, forests and public health
UPDATE: On 15th February 2023, a court ruling was issued prohibiting the installation of wood pellet boilers at the SABIC plant. This means that the development will not go ahead.
SABIC’s plans to replace a natural gas unit with one burning wood pellets are driven by their and their parent company’s, Saudi Aramco’s economic interests to reduce expenses in order to have more money to invest in increased fossil fuel production elsewhere. Burning wood for energy is no better for the climate, and no less polluting than burning coal. If SABIC’s biomass plans are realised, they will further increase Dutch pellet imports, putting more pressure on highly biodiverse ecosystems in the Southern USA, the Baltic States and/or British Columbia, which are the Netherland’s and indeed the world’s main pellet sourcing regions. Wood pellet production itself is linked to environmental injustices, including harmful air pollution, and burning wood pellets in Bergen op Zoom would worsen local air pollution.