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This study compared harvesting alternatives, accumulation and procurement costs of small-diameter thinning wood chips for fuel, when trees were harvested either as delimbed stemwood or whole trees. The calculation was made for a hypothetical plant located in Central Finland and the radius of the procurement area was 100 km via the existing road network. Cutting was done with conventional harvester head equipped with multi-tree-handling (MTH) accessories, with the logged trees being chipped at the roadside storage. The cost of delimbed stemwood chips at heating plant was 24% higher compared to the cost of whole tree chips. The availability analysis attested that delimbing lowered the regional cutting removal by 42% compared to the whole tree harvesting, when the minimum accumulation for the fuel fraction at the stand was set at 25 m3/ha. Delimbing diminishes the recovery rate at the site, resulting in a diminishing number of potential recovery sites meeting the threshold volume. However, the study showed that the forest energy potential is increased and procurement costs are reduced, if delimbed stemwood is harvested from stands where the whole tree harvesting is not acceptable due to nutrient loss or for other ecological reasons. Intelligent selection of cutting methods for different stands enables minimization of transport distance and control of procurement cost.