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

November 23, 2022

From the Director's Desk: Thankful

I’ll open with an apology and a belated Happy Veteran’s Day to all the veterans out there working in our industry. I failed to begin the last edition of the Pellet Wire with a recognition of the day. I’ll offer this by way of an explanation. I was hunting with my favorite veteran (my dad), continuing a tradition that reaches back to 1971 when my father and his friend, whom both recently returned from tours of duty in Vietnam, went duck hunting to celebrate the holiday. While the quarry has changed over the years, I’m blessed to spend time with those very same people doing the very same thing on the very same day. I am proud of this great country, which people are willing to lay it all on the line for to this day. Thank you, Veterans. Cheers. 

I’m thankful for the opportunity to represent the wood pellet industry, an industry riddled with hardworking, smart, and resourceful folks whom it has been my pleasure to get to know for over a decade. You’ve welcomed me into your businesses, homes, and communities, and I thank you for it. I’m thankful to represent men and women engaged in manufacturing, a vital part of our nation’s economy that we must preserve and celebrate. I have a special fondness for the rural places of this country, and I’ll end my notes of thanks by recognizing that there remain places like Mill City, Oregon; Ladysmith; Wisconsin, and Strong, Maine where people make the vital products their neighbors need. 

August EIA data revealed

Last week the industry got a look at the newest EIA data when the August data dropped. Here are the highlights (monthly average in parentheses):

Production:           164,790 (156,291) 
Sales:                   199,253 (195,763) 
Inventory:             256,337 (367,076*)

* August inventory position in 2016 was 620,962 tons, in 2017 it was 527,154. Inventory position in August has averaged 263,584 since 2018. 

Before the release of the data, I jotted down some predictions and shared them with our board. I noted since February, the industry has been producing at about 110% of the monthly average. While August production missed the “up 10% mark”, it didn’t stray too much from the trend and the sector once again exceeded the monthly production average.

This uptick in production is happening despite flagging sales. Through August, producers have sold 973,529 tons against sales of 1,004,290 tons over the same timeframe last year. I suspect this market confidence is at least partially attributable to overseas demand. While there isn’t a category within the report that pinpoints exports of heating markets, I think August’s inventory stepdown (producers moved 63,483 tons out of inventory) was probably an indication of overseas sales activity. 

Winter Picks up Steam

I’m mixing my metaphors a bit when I say winter is picking up steam, as it is trending colder than last year. Is it more accurate to say, picking up momentum? That sounds fast and steam sounds warm to me. The PFI HDD Index reveals the majority of the pellet-burning regions of the country have started colder than last year, but all lag long-term average. Buffalo, New York leads all cities on the Index at 33% more Heating Degree Days than last year so far. I suspect after the “Snownami” there over the weekend that it will remain the coldest winter on the Index for another week. For those unacquainted with the PFI HDD Index, it can be found on the homepage of the Pellet Fuels Institute and is updated weekly to offer an “at a glance” sense of how winter is progressing in pellet burning geographies.

—Tim Portz
 Executive Director

Save the Date 2023

PFI 2022 Annual Conference


Photo of the Week:

Curran Renewable
Photo: T. Portz

Finished Product Heading Out: A sunny October day found Curran Renewable busy making and shipping heating pellets in the opening stanzas of the 2022-23 heating season. This photo was taken on the 2022 Chairman’s Tour. 

 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 tim@pelletheat.

Industry News

EIA Monthly Densified Biomass Report (now with August data!)

As of August 2022, the monthly data collection included 80 operating manufacturers of densified biomass fuel. These manufacturers had a total production capacity of 13.33 million tons per year and collectively had an equivalent of 2,456 full-time employees.

Read Article

Heating Degree Day Data

Heating Degree Day Data Weekly Summary
Climate Prediction Center-NCEP-NWS-NOAA
Accumulations are from Jul  1, 2022 TO Nov 19, 2022

Read Article

Current Heating Fuel Prices in Maine

The Governor’s Energy Office (GEO) conducts a weekly survey of heating fuel prices, obtained from fuel retailers statewide. This survey provides the current Maine cash prices, in dollars, rounded to the nearest penny. Prices are typically updated on Thursdays.

Read Article

ENplus fraud management reinforced by special actions in Italy

The ENplus certification is known to be the only wood pellet quality scheme on the market to constantly combat fraud and follow up on quality issues. These efforts were recently supported by a special operation executed by the ENplus National Licenser for Italy – AIEL Italian Agroforestry Energy Associationand Guardia di Finanza (Italian Fiscal Police).

Read Article

Home Heating Oil Prices Hit Record High in Maine

The cost for a gallon of heating oil in Maine has hit a record high.

Mainers should expect to pay an average of $5.71 per gallon for number two heating oil and $7.07 per gallon of kerosene, according to Gov. Janet Mills‘ energy office.

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, promotions, or other news.

Pellet Fuels Institute

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(206) 209-5277