Catch up with PFI in this issue of the Pellet Wire!

February 23, 2024

From the Director’s Desk: Your Average February, PFI at the International Biomass Conference & Expo, PFI Annual Conference Registration Is Now Open

Your Average February

Each month, Pellet Wire looks at wood pellet production, sales, and inventory averages and with the information available to us, makes some guesses as to where this year’s numbers may fall.

February              2023 (average – since 2016)

Sales                    105,629 tons (123,588 tons)    
Production          161,393 tons (131,577 tons)
Inventory             158,129 tons (118,400 tons) *

* Inventory is a 5-year average

While I find it difficult to believe, the PFI Heating Degree Day index shows accumulated HDDs up in most cities on the index. Only balmy Baker City, Oregon lags last year’s pace. The index’s northeastern cities are all significantly up (Portland, Maine up 15%, Concord, New Hampshire up 14%, and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania up 15%). I had to look up Minneapolis as it has felt unseasonably warm here all season, but the Mini Apple shows 9% more heating degree days than last year at this time. Go figure. Logic then would suggest that once published in May, the February numbers will show a bump from last year. A 10% bump in sales would push February closer to the 8-year average (123,588 tons), but I suspect we will still fall short and likely will end the month around 115,000 tons in sales.

It is perhaps not that informative to isolate a single month and compare Heating Degree Days and pellet sales. Consider November 2023, the last month for which the Energy Information Administration has published data. November sales were down sharply from the year prior (177,710 tons in 2023 vs. 214,929 tons in 2022) despite significantly higher accumulated heating degree days through the month. On November 25, 2023, Portland, Maine had accumulated 20% more heating degree days than it had through that date in 2022. Extending your gaze through the whole year, however, and the colder temps and pellet sales show more correlation. Through November pellet sales were about 15,000 tons beyond the same sales period in 2022.

A final thought. The highest February sales total since 2016 was 169,714 tons in 2019 a monster year throughout the calendar. Five months in 2019 posted 200,000+ ton months and December just missed with 197,156 tons. THAT is what a 2.2-million-ton year looks like.


PFI at the International Biomass Conference & Expo

On March 4-6, members of the Pellet Fuels Institute and the broader wood pellet manufacturing industry will gather in Richmond, Virginia for the 2024 International Biomass Conference & Expo. The Pellet Fuels Institute Board of Directors will meet on Monday, March 4th from 12:00 – 4:00 PM. I’ll be participating in the general session on Tuesday morning and will deliver a presentation on Wednesday morning that will offer a statistical review of the production and sales season we’ve had. If you like the data roundups offered here in Pellet Wire, I’d invite you to come. The presentation will be at 8:30 AM in Room E25AB. Joining me on the panel is a longtime friend of the Pellet Fuels Institute and perhaps the most knowledgeable person in the world on global pellet markets and the policies that make them go, Bill Strauss. If you haven’t seen Bill present before, I recommend it highly. You’ll leave that session with a pile of data to digest.

The International Biomass Conference & Expo offers complimentary registrations for the employees of wood pellet manufacturers. I look forward to seeing everyone there.


PFI Annual Conference Registration Is Now Open

What are you doing in late June? How does a couple of days in historic Charleston taking in all that city has to offer, playing a little golf, and connecting with your friends in the wood pellet industry sound? The 2024 Pellet Fuels Institute Annual Conference will be held at the Mills House (115 Meeting Street) on June 25-27th. The hotel is nestled in the heart of the action, one block north of Broad Street and just three blocks from the water. The Pellet Fuels Institute continues its march through cities across the United States that everyone should see at least once. Charleston absolutely fits that bill. The historic city has really leaned into its inner foodie and great cuisine abounds. Watch the Pellet Wire for more information about discussion topics, VIP night, and the 2024 Pellet Fuels Institute Golf Tournament.

Membership Renewal Season Is Here

With the close of the 2023 calendar year behind us, the organization is now squarely in renewal season. Thank you to those producers who have already renewed. Renewal can be completed on the Pellet Fuels Institute website or by calling the Pellet Fuels Institute Office at (206) 209-5277. Membership tiers are determined by a three-year rolling average of wood pellet sales so you’ll need to have 2023 sales numbers available to execute on your renewal. Please do not hesitate to reach out to the office with any challenges or questions!

—Tim Portz
 Executive Director

2024 Annual Conference

Photo of the Week:

Almost Heaven: The Lignetics of West Virginia pellet plant in Linn, West Virginia is nestled into a valley and was in fine trim last month during a plant tour.

Photo Source: Tim Portz

Send Us Your Photos! Help us build a collection of photos of our members, their pellet mills, and products! Send images to Tim Portz at [email protected].

Industry News

EIA Monthly Densified Biomass Report

As of November 2023, the monthly data collection included 76 operating manufacturers of densified biomass fuel. These manufacturers had a total production capacity of 12.96 million tons per year and collectively had an equivalent of 2,472 full-time employees.

View Data

Heating Degree Days Data

Heating Degree Day Data Weekly Summary
Climate Prediction Center-NCEP-NWS-NOAA
Accumulations are from July 1, 2023 to February 17, 2024

View Data

USDA: US Wood Pellet Exports Reach 9.54 Million Metric Tons in 2023

The U.S. exported 1.01 million metric tons of wood pellets in December, according to data released by the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service on Feb. 7. Total exports for the full year reached 9.54 million metric tons. 

Read Article

Statement of Chairwoman Stabenow on Need to Pass a Farm Bill

WASHINGTON – On Wednesday, Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) released the following statement on new economic projections from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Congressional Budget Office and the urgency to pass a strong, bipartisan 2024 Farm Bill. 

Read Article

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Have News to Share in the Pellet Wire?

We would love to feature your company's news in a future Pellet Wire! Let us be the first to know about your company's recent developments, and we will share them with the broader pellet fuels industry.

Please consider the Pellet Wire for staff announcements, new hires, promotions, and retirements. 

Please get in touch with Tim Portz via email at [email protected] with information on your company's growth, job openings, or other news.

Pellet Fuels Institute

[email protected]
(206) 209-5277