Millions of Romanians who use firewood for heating should also be granted subsidies as timber prices have skyrocketed, fueled by rising energy prices, the environment minister said.
Romania’s government has extended subsidies and price caps for gas and electricity until April amid the price hikes.
But there are no facilities for households that use firewood and there should be as wood-burning stoves are environmentally friendly, the minister said.
At least three million Romanians who aren’t connected to the gas mains use wood to heat their homes, Environment Minister Barna Tanczos said last week.
The minister who has a farm in rural Romania said he himself heats his house with sustainable firewood which is not fit for manufacturing or other purposes.
„It’s the ideal solution for rural areas. There’s nothing embarrassing about it. They use wood for heating in Austria, using different technologies which reduce emissions. This is what we should be doing.”
Firewood has doubled in price in the last year due to energy price hikes, as well as a reduction in illegal logging leading which means there is less wood available.
Last year, if a a cubic meter of wood cost 250 lei, it’s now 500 lei, G4Media reported in November. Firewood prices vary depending on the quality and type of timber, and the area it’s harvested from.
Wood prices have been steadily increasing in recent years.
“Wood is an important heating source for many, not just in Romania but in other European states,’’ minister Tanczos said.
He said authorities should create facilities or ‘ a social program’ to help households cover firewood costs.
“There is less and less illegal wood available, and timber prices have gone up. Firewood is more expensive. … the state needs to support people.”
“We need to cut out intermediaries and invest in making wood heaters efficient,” he told Digi24.
He said illegal logging had “significantly reduced” due to a new tracking system.
“This is good news,” he added.