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First renewable energy exchange opens in Amsterdam

Dutch-Belgian energy market provider APX-Endex launched a “biomass exchange” Thursday specialising in trading wood pellets as a source of renewable energy, a venture it said was a world first.

“The first biomass exchange in the world has officially been opened,” Eric-Jan Hadderingh, spokesman for APX-Endex, told AFP.

“APX-Endex decided to be the first exchange in the world to launch exchange-traded certified wood pellet contracts,” in Amsterdam, an APX-Endex statement added.

Operating as a regular exchange, but only open on Monday and Thursday afternoons, its owners hope to attract a dozen firms, including “large energy companies” to trade on its floor, APX-Endex said.

“We had already in 2008 launched an index for wood pellets but there was a demand for a place of real trade,” Hadderingh said, pointing out that biomass was a growth market.

The venture has the backing of Europe’s largest port, Rotterdam, which helped with its development and will serve as a biomass storage facility until it can be transported to processing plants.

Environmental group Greenpeace said the export of wooden pellets from Canada to Europe increased 700 percent in less than eight years.

Biomass is the term used for organic plant material including wood cuttings and pellets and agricultural waste, processed to produce energy considered to be “carbon neutral” in emissions.

But Greenpeace warned in a report Wednesday that burning forest biomass on a large scale was actually more polluting than petrol or coal.