The spike is the price of electricity indirectly caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which sent natural gas prices soaring, as well as the rise in the price for the same reason of heating oil, which heats somewhere around half of northern New England homes (including mine, I’m embarrassed to admit), is giving that Northeast staple of wood heat a new boost.

The result, predictably, is shortages and price hikes for firewood and wood-burning stoves, as the Valley News reports (here). That’s how capitalism works, for better or worse.

Firewood banks, which provide free wood for heating to people in need, are also seeing increased demand, as the Monitor reported recently (here). And wood pellets for automatic-feeding pellet stoves are likely to be in short supply, as we noted last month (here)

I’m a fan of biomass energy but there’s a drawback: individual wood stoves can be pollution machines. That’s why the city of Keene has the worst winter air quality in New Hampshire; it’s located in a bowl that traps smoke from the many wood stoves in the area. New Hampshire and Vermont have had various programs giving out money if you trade old smoky stoves for new ones with pollution controls but the take-up hasn’t been great.

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