Catch up with PFI in this issue of the Pellet Wire!
April 15, 2022

From the Director's Desk:

Out West, Winter Does a Curtain Call

As I type this Interstate 94 is closed between Bismarck, North Dakota and Billings, Montana. I traveled that same stretch just three weeks ago and the only indication of winter was the ice on the handful of bigger sloughs we passed. There was no snow for thousands of square miles, just soggy dormant grasses in the ditches and medians. Early this week a massive storm system battered the northern Rockies dropping snow and thermostats across the region. The “Feels Like” Temperature map below was captured just after lunch on Wednesday afternoon. 

Producers in the east can only look on longingly at this last burst of Heating Degree Days. While no one would argue that the heating season of 2021-22 was the kind of year that excites wood pellet producers, the Pacific Northwest at least had a winter that exceeded the season before (2020-21). The Pellet Fuels Index shows Lewiston, Montana lagging last year’s HDD totals by 3%. Let’s keep an eye on Lewiston next week. Last year during this week Lewiston was topping out in the upper 30s. This week it's been highs in the upper teens with evening lows in the single digits. In east-central Montana at least, pellet stoves are still running full-bore.

Map credit: 

I will be interested to see if this late season storm out West is appreciable in any of the data sets I keep close tabs on. The EIA data shows clearly that April is the month where the sector winds down and catches its breath. Since 2016, the month of April sees the lowest average production and sales. Nationwide wood pellet manufacturers average 112,396 tons of production and just 100,517 tons in sales. By comparison, the average sales figure in October is 248,148 tons against production of an average of 164,066 tons.

Registration for the PFI Annual Conference is Now Open

If you haven’t had an opportunity to peruse the 2022 PFI Annual Conference agenda I urge you to give it a look. The agenda reflects the biggest questions, opportunities, and challenges facing the sector today. It is rich in wood pellet manufacturers talking about their businesses and the markets they serve. Whether you are a BBQ pellet enthusiast or an energy policy wonk you’ll find something on the agenda to circle. I hope you will join us. We look forward to seeing you in Milwaukee. 

Register Now

  —Tim Portz
  Executive Director

  Photo of the Week:

Image Source:Wood Pellet Prices Dashboard” – New York State Energy Research and Development Authority

Wood Pellets Flexing on their Price Advantage in New York State: For this week’s Photo of the Week I had to include a screengrab from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s “Wood Pellet Prices Dashboard”. The site has robust energy on all manner of home heating fuels, wood pellets included. This screen shows the dramatic rise of heating oil across the state as oil prices skyrocketed in January and February. I found the tabs on this data set particularly useful as they allow for custom date ranges. Interestingly, by expanding the date range to reach back to 2017 the impact of the pandemic on the price per MMBtu advantage is stark. The pandemic and its resultant historically low oil prices wiped away the advantage wood pellets have enjoyed for years. The same custom range shows how quickly the prices can turn northward again. In May of 2020 heating oil in was delivered one MMBtu for $16.71, slightly less than bagged hardwood pellets ($18.25/MMBtu). By March of this year, heating oil more than doubled to $37.64/MMBtu while bagged hardwood pellets increased to just $19.62/MMBtu

The economic argument for wood pellet heating is on full display right now, I just wish Mother Nature would cooperate and let us show off a bit. 

Send Us 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

Heating Degree Days Data

(Worthy of a bookmark.) - I'll keep this link active for the remainder of the heating season. 

View Data

EIA Monthly Densified Biomass Report (with November data)

Read Article

USDA: US wood pellet exports at 628,660 metric tons in February

The U.S. exported 628,659.8 metric tons of wood pellets in February, down when compared to the 655,656.5 metric tons exported in January, but up when compared to the 556,801.7 metric tons of exports reported for February 2021, according to data released by the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service on April 5.

Read Article

Drax opens new pellet plant in Demopolis, Alabama

Drax Group, the world’s leading producer and user of sustainable biomass, has opened a new pellet plant at Demopolis in Alabama, bringing new jobs and economic opportunities to the town.

Read Article


PFI Career Center

Check out open positions, post your resumé, or post a job.

Fuel Availability

Are you a PFI member, pellet manufacturer, or distributor that has fuel available? Email the PFI Office to have your listing updated or added to the PFI website.

Become a Member

Not a member yet? Learn more about how PFI can work for you and join today!

Follow PFI on Twitter, Friend Us on Facebook and Link with us on LinkedIn!

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:

  1. Follow us on TwitterFacebook, 
    and LinkedIn!
  2. Encourage your colleagues and other business associates to follow us.
  3. Send Tim Portz news or other ideas to post on PFI’s social media.

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.

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.

PFI Icon

Pellet Fuels Institute

[email protected]
(206) 209-5277

PFI Twitter
PFI Facebook
PFI LinkedIn