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

September 8, 2023

From the Director’s Desk: June Data Shows Strong Production Across the Country, JOIN THE FALL FLY-IN - Tuesday, October 17 - Wednesday, October 18  

June Data Shows Strong Production Across the Country

As the wood pellet production data has accumulated in the Energy Information Administration’s Monthly Densified Biomass Fuel Report, we have been tracking the impact of generally lower wood pellet inventory numbers on producer appetites for increased production. Through June, U.S. heating pellet production was 918,564 tons, the highest January to June total since 2020 (935,453 tons). In the East, production in June topped 100,000 tons (103,109) for the first time since August of last year. In the West, where pellet inventories are significantly lower than they were just a year ago, production topped 40,000 tons (41,593) for the first time since July of 2021. At 162,464 tons, this June found producers at production outputs more typical of early fall. From 2020-2022, the average total U.S. production in June was 145,204 tons. Clearly, producers were working towards increasing their summertime inventories in June with an eye on more comfortable inventory positions at the summertime peak (usually July or August).

As June closed, the East region finished with 148,483 tons, more or less mirroring the inventory position there at the close of June last year. The West continues to lag last year’s numbers by a wide margin with just 39,069 tons on the ground compared to 91,886 tons a year ago. I would expect this will mean we will see strong production out West through the rest of the summer and throughout the fall as well. Last year, the West sold just 25,853 tons in July, allowing producers to put nearly 9,000 tons into inventory. That said, sales in the West have been well beyond last year’s numbers each month. Through June, producers in the West have sold 207,250 tons compared to 152,364 tons during the same period last year. This 55,000-ton difference is the difference between this year’s inventory and last year’s. The question that emerges now, is how many of those additional pellets that were sold in the first half of the year are still sitting in pellet user’s garages and basements. This is the question retailers and producers alike will ponder, and have pondered, as they make production decisions for the rest of summer and early fall. I suspect the West will put together a string of 40,000 + ton production months in anticipation of a the early buy season now underway.

Through June sales are up nearly 100,000 tons when compared to January – June of 2022 (748,755 tons vs. 645,007 tons). Over half of that increase can be attributed to the Western region (207,250 vs. 152,364), the other half coming from increased pellet sales in the South (103,855 vs. 54,220) while sales in the East were within 1000 tons of last year’s first six months (440,626 vs. 439,504).

ADVOCACY ALERT: PFI Offers Comments to Massachusetts Clean Heat Standard

A tip of the cap and a big thank you to Chris Egan, Executive Director at the Massachusetts Forest Alliance for putting the Massachusetts Clean Heat Standard on our radar. The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection is developing a Clean Heat Standard (CHS), and the organization is hearing from a wide range of stakeholders about just how to build and implement such a standard, and which technologies it should favor and, conversely, which it should aim to curtail. The Pellet Fuels Institute knows that wood pellet heating delivers real carbon benefit when compared to fossil fuels, but it should come as no surprise that other interests seek to eliminate combustion of all kinds as a space heating technology, wood pellets included.

The DEP offered a public comment period and the PFI submitted these comments. The comments highlighted how wood pellet heating aligned completely with the Commonwealth’s stated goals for their Clean Heat Standard and urged them to recognize the environmental and economic benefits of wood heat within their CHS in the same way that neighboring Vermont has.

The PFI continues to watch closely as state’s work on varying pathways to drive down the carbon intensity of their economies. Each effort creates a new opportunity for the PFI to espouse the benefits of wood heating, while also creating opportunities for our detractors. Working with our pro-forestry allies and wood product groups is vital to staying abreast of these ongoing developments. Thanks again to Chris at the MFA for alerting us to this development.

Join the Fall Fly-In! PFI Fall Fly-In - Tuesday, October 17 - Wednesday, October 18

There are still spots available to join the 2023 PFI Fall Fly-In. Members interested in sharing their story with policymakers can book rooms at the fly-in motel. It isn’t actually a motel, but rather a hotel in Georgetown.

The schedule has been built to accommodate folks that can only be away one evening. Our fly-in activities will begin at 3:00 PM on Tuesday, October 17th, and conclude around 3:30 or 4:00 PM on Wednesday, October 18th, providing people with an opportunity to book an evening flight out of DC on Wednesday night.

If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Conference Presentations Available on PFI Website

We’ve added three PowerPoint presentations that were shared at this year’s annual conference to the PFI website. These data-rich presentations will be stored in the Industry Data section of the website.

—Tim Portz
 Executive Director

Save the Date 2024

Photo of the Week:

Advocacy In Action: At the last PFI fly-in (2019) member John Utter (Dansons) and Executive Director Tim Portz caught up with then Rep. David McKinley and talked wood pellet manufacturing in West Virginia. 

Photo Credit: PFI

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 (now with June data)

As of June 2023, the monthly data collection included 76 operating manufacturers of densified biomass fuel. These manufacturers had a total production capacity of 12.60 million tons per year and collectively had an equivalent of 2,493 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, 2022 to Sept 2, 2023

View Data

EU wood pellet consumption forecast to grow in 2023

The European Union consumed a record 24.8 million metric tons of wood pellets in 2022, according to a report filed with the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service’s Global Agricultural Information Network. Consumption is expected to grow to 25.6 million metric tons this year.

Read Article

Port of Tyne, Drax enter new 4-year agreement

Port of Tyne is solidifying its position in the U.K.'s dynamic renewable energy landscape through an exciting partnership with Drax, a powerhouse in the realm of renewable power generation. Drax, recognized as the U.K.'s leading renewable power generator by output, has entered into a fresh contract with the Port of Tyne. This strategic collaboration aims to ensure an uninterrupted supply of sustainably sourced biomass pellets to Drax Power Station, situated in Selby, North Yorkshire. 

Read Article

Hearth & Home Technologies Announces Shared Master Brand

United by a commitment to excellence, Vermont Castings, Harman and Quadra-Fire join forces under a shared master brand, Forge & Flame. As three esteemed leaders in the hearth industry, these renowned brands not only share a passion for innovation and quality but also a collective commitment to shaping the future of fire. 

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Report: Japan's import of wood pellets to increase in 2023

Japan has been dramatically increasing its wood pellet imports for its feed-in-tariff (FIT) program, with wood pellet imports expected to reach an estimated 4.25 million bone-dry tons this year, according to a report filed with the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service’s Global Agricultural Information Network in August.

Read Article

Massachusetts Clean Heat Standard - No More Business as Usual for the Heating Sectors 

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) is gearing up for a massive regulatory effort aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the residential heating sector and the commercial and industrial heating sector. The Global Warming Solutions Act requires the Secretary of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs to establish emissions limits for the sectors. The Clean Energy and Climate Plan for 2025/2030 introduced the “clean heat standard” (CHS) as a regulatory option for meeting the emissions limit for what it termed the “thermal sector.”

Read Article

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We’d like to connect and interact with PFI members and anyone else involved in pellet fuels production! 

Here’s how you can help us build our online community:

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Join a PFI Committee

We welcome and encourage all interested PFI members to get involved in our committees. There are many opportunities to help steer the association. No matter where your expertise and interests lie, we have a committee that will suit you. Help us plan our next conference, shape our policy agenda, lead communications outreach, or grow the PFI Standards Program.

Visit PFI's Committee Page for more information.

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