Catch up with PFI in this issue of the Pellet Wire!
May 13, 2022

From the Director's Desk:

Our Three-Legged Stool

Over the past two months your PFI has dramatically ramped up its efforts to see the tax credit for qualifying wood pellet appliances extended past 2023 (when they are set to expire) and expanded to include deployments into businesses. We’ve retained a team from O’Neill and Associates to help guide our efforts and for now we are focusing specifically on the Senate Finance Committee and the Senate Appropriations Committee. 

This week I authored and delivered a series of letters customized specifically for specific senators regarding our interest in seeing the BTU act extended and expanded. I’m a firm believer that the simplest arguments are the best arguments to make. With that in mind, my letters which you can find posted on the PFI website (under Industry data) attempted to connect three irrefutable and simple realities:

  •  Wood product manufacturing is important to the Senator’s state. 
  •  Wood pellet manufacturing was vital for wood product manufacturers. 
  •  The BTU Act is vital for wood pellet manufacturers. 

That’s it. That’s the basis of my letter. In my letters I open by expressing the enormity of wood product manufacturing in each state. The numbers and facts speak for themselves. Pennsylvania has a forest products manufacturing site in all 67 of its counties. In Ohio, the forest products industry contributes $26 billion to the state’s economy every year. Next, I draw attention to the wood pellet manufacturers in the state and the demand they generate for the inevitable residues that come from these primary and secondary forest product manufacturing sites. For this I include some calculations based on installed capacity, residual prices as reported by the EIA and some assumptions about required residues per ton of finished pellets. Again, the numbers are compelling. In Pennsylvania, wood pellet manufacturers spent over $20 million on residues in 2021. 

Finally, I make the argument that the BTU Act, the most meaningful piece of federal policy support that wood heat sector has ever been given is yielding more pellet appliances in homes. 

The hope is that our elected representatives will readily connect those three dots and realize that a move to extend and expand the BTU Act has a direct, positive impact on their state’s forest products economy. 

Conference Talkers

Each year the topical discussion at the PFI Annual Conference ebbs and flows with the topics of the day. We are five weeks out from the event. Here are some items I suspect will be talked about formally, and informally during the event.

Inflation.Our producers panel last year indicated that managing inflation was going to be one of the bigger challenges of the 2021-22 heating season. It is hard to imagine this won’t be the biggest challenge of the 2022-23 heating season as well. 

Russia. A 2-million ton global pellet short is a big deal. The worldwide search to replace these lost volumes is underway and our members are fielding inquiries and considering the benefits and risks of the opportunity before them. 

BTU Act. Will this year’s event turn into an impromptu celebration of the inclusion of the full BTU Act in a Clean Energy Tax package we are working so diligently towards? I will be joined on stage by Jennifer Krowchun (O’Neill) and Ryan Carroll (HPBA) to discuss where things stand. 

Our fiber story. The conference will open with a discussion about how our industry should share its fiber story with a varied group of stakeholders, each with their own motivations, needs and wants. 

Registration for the PFI Annual Conference is 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:

L to R: Eric Johnson (Lignetics), Trevor Greene, Hollie Greene 

Photo: Hearth & Home Technologies

Harman/Lignetics Honor NH First Responder : Every year PFI Appliance Manufacturer Hearth & Home Technologies gives away a home heating appliance to a first responder as part of their National Hero Giveaway. This year’s winner was Trevor Greene a firefighter and paramedic at the Laconia, New Hampshire fire department. This giveaway involved a number of partners including local hearth retailer Fireside Living who donated the installation work, HHT who donated the XXV-TC Pellet Stove and PFI fuel manufacturer member Lignetics who donated a ton of wood pellets to get the Greene’s started. Full story can be found in the Industry News section.

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

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 January data)

Read Article

2021 Harman Hero Giveaway Winner: Trevor Greene

Read Article

Drax discusses plans for new pellet projects, BECCS development

Read Article

Report describes changes to Dutch government’s policy on biomass

The government of the Netherlands in late April signaled its intent to support the use of biomass for certain high-value applications, including the production of some biofuels and high-temperature heat, but phase out support for lower value uses.

Read Article

Director’s note: I include this story out of the Netherlands as I think it illustrates how quickly policymakers can muddy the water when it comes to the proper deployment of renewables. It is a cautionary tale that we are wise to fold into our own thinking about sharing our value proposition. Bizarrely, Dutch policymakers have decided that biomass for home heating is a “low-value” end use. In today’s marketplace of sky-high fossil fuel heating sources, the Pellet Fuels Institute and its membership categorically and emphatically disagree. 

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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?

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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.

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