August 24, 2018

In This Week's Pellet Wire:

Executive Director's Notes, August 24th: Movement on NSPS Seems Imminent

This week, during our regular monthly PFI standards committee conference call we learned that a revised New Source Performance Standard (NSPS) had been submitted to the Office of Management and Budget for review. This step suggests that the publication of the new rule is imminent and I'm happy to report that our standards committee and board are already at work anticipating how the new rule will treat pellet fuels and the certification programs available to wood pellet producers, including the PFI Standards Program. While the details of the program are not known, industry observers and those familiar with the EPA under the Trump administration anticipate that the new rule will have a lighter regulatory touch.

One thing I have learned in my tenure as the Executive Director of the PFI is that air quality and the protection of air quality is not simply the jurisdiction of the EPA. This is particularly important with regard to the new NSPS rule currently under review at the OMB as our contacts at state level air regulatory agencies have made it clear that if the new NSPS rule does not guarantee that they will be able to meet their air quality targets, individual states will have to pursue state-specific regulations which may include rules and regulations regarding the fuel you all produce. Clearly, navigating a patchwork of varied state-level fuel requirements is not optimal for producers producing for and selling into multi-state regions.

During our call this week our committee decided that as we move through this new rule publication and comment period our internal discussions as a board and a standards committee need to occur with greater frequency than simply our standard monthly call. Our team and committee will continue to monitor this important piece of federal regulation and share important information regarding the new rule as it becomes available.

- Tim Portz
Executive Director 

Social Media Beta Test FAQs

What we're hoping to learn:

The program is being developed to efficiently enable the PFI to test a small number of pro-pellet messages with actual consumers across the pellet using geographies of the United States. Social media advertising enables us to test messages and identify receptive pellet fuels audiences while promoting the pellet option. Messages the encourage consumers to further explore wood pellets as a home heating option may include but are not limited to:

  • The economic advantage of wood pellets over other fuel options
  • Ambiance of a cozy wood fire without a fireplace
  • Ease of use of a pellet appliance; no need to haul logs
  • Heat Local. Using wood pellets for home heat helps the local economy.
  • Wood pellets are an environmentally preferable, low-carbon, renewable home heat option.
  • Wood pellets play an important role in sustainable forest management.

 1. What is the ultimate goal of the sponsored content?

Sponsored content will target new social media users who may not be aware of the heating with wood pellets. Whereas a business can create posts that its followers will see, and boost the post beyond that audience to some extent, sponsored content will identify potentially receptive new audiences and target them multiple times. Sponsored content also enables us to test our ads and messages, and monitor stats like how many times our content is being seen or attracts engagement. In a recent test with a retailer in Pennsylvania, we were able to reach 30,000 Facebook and Instagram users an average of 2.5 times each.

 2. I've heard there is a cost to post sponsored content on both Facebook and Instagram. Does the cost of the program cover these expenses?

Yes. The cost of the program covers both a monthly ad budget of $100 for a four-month campaign and the cost of implementing the program. The cost for the full four-month beta test is $1500; the pellet fuels manufacturer and retailer are welcome to split that cost in any way.

3. Will my brand has a presence on any of the sponsored ads?

This campaign is designed to raise awareness of pellet heating among receptive consumers and to send them to a knowledgeable local expert who can guide them through the purchase of a pellet appliance. During this beta test, we will be featuring the logos and websites of the featured local hearth and patio retailer wherever possible. We encourage pellet fuels manufacturers who are sponsoring retailers to work with those retailers to highlight your brand at the point of sale as a preferred or recommended pellet fuels manufacturer.

4.  Why do I need to involve a specialty hearth retailer? Why can't I just promote my brand with this beta test?

To create a new pellet fuels customer, that customer must first own a pellet appliance. With this campaign, we are seeking to introduce fresh, new consumers to the benefits of pellet heating. Hearth and patio retailers are on the front lines of selling appliances, so we want to a) introduce the concept of pellet heating to consumers and b) send them to someone who can advise them on installation.

 5.  What images will be used in the sponsored posts?

We welcome all images of pellet fuels appliances and are happy to use photos supplied by the retailer. Our preference is for retailers to supply promotional photos of the products that they sell from the manufacturer. If promotional photos are unavailable, we will choose from the images that we've already collected. It's important that we feature photos of pellet appliances in an array of home environments so that viewers will be able to picture an appliance in their home.

6.  My retail partner already uses both Facebook and Instagram for their business. Can they keep up with their other social media efforts while the PFI campaign is underway?

Absolutely. We enthusiastically encourage regular Facebook and Instagram activity during the campaign - both for pellet appliances and for other merchandise the retailer may carry. The more visibility, the better. We also plan to work with each retailer's social media manager to re-post some of our ad content during the campaign.

 7.  My retailer would like to use this opportunity to highlight special offers for wood pellets and pellet appliances. Is this program flexible enough to allow for that?

Certainly. We urge each retailer to provide us with a special offer for pellet appliances that we can feature in our ads. We can feature a new offer each month, or keep up the same offer throughout the season.

 8.  What kind of information will I and my retail partner be able to see during the test?

We will share monthly reports that show the key stats of the campaign - including audience reach, clicks, post engagement (likes or scrolling through a slideshow, for instance), and more data.

 9.  How will we measure success for the program?

Our ultimate goal is to promote the sales of pellet appliances, making progress toward Operation 100K. We'll measure success in several ways - a number of people reached, engagement with our ads, and retailer leads. If we are able to replicate our initial test from this summer in each of the selected markets, we will reach 250,000 or more social media users. We will also ask our retailers to keep track of how many leads they get from Facebook or Instagram and to report these numbers.

*The social media beta program is open to manufacturer members only. 

Important Dates:

July 27 – Registration Opens

Week of August 27 – Participant Webinar

September 10 – Beta test begins

January 10 – Beta test ends

Send Us Photos!

We're building a collection of photos of our members, their pellets mills, and product. Send them to Carrie Annand at [email protected]. As we're gearing up for pellet season, this week's featured photo shows fresh bags off coming off the Indeck production line in Ladysmith, Wisconsin. 

Become a 2018 PFI Sponsor in September

Don't miss the opportunity to sponsor PFI to reap the benefits for the rest of the year! Sponsorship at all levels brings many perks, along with exposure for your company to the pellet fuels industry. By signing up to sponsor the association in 2018, you will reap the benefits throughout the coming year. 

The 2018 sponsorship packages options include benefits such as:

  • Company logo listed on the PFI website
  • Weekly newsletter advertising
  • Website advertising
  • And more!

PFI's membership list includes more than 100 companies, and the Pellet Wire, our electronic newsletter, is sent to close to 2,000 subscribers every week. Now is the time to become a sponsor of this organization. Visit our website to explore how you can become involved.

Follow PFI on Twitter, Friend Us on Facebook, and Connect 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 LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook!
  2. Encourage your colleagues and other business associates to follow us.
  3. Send Carrie Annand news or other ideas to post on LinkedIn.

Have News to Share on Pellet Wire?

We'd love to feature your company's news in a future Pellet Wire! We want to be the first to know your company's recent developments to share them with the wider pellet fuels industry.

Please be in touch with Carrie Annand with information on your company's growth, job openings, promotions, or other news. 

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 website for more information. 

Upcoming Industry Events

March 14 - 16, 2019: HPBA Expo 2019

June 4 - 6, 2019: 2019 PFI Annual Conference 

Connect with PFI
Join PFI

Fuel Availability

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

Industry News

Outdoor Grilling Turns up the Heat 
Las Vegas Review-Journal

For people who love outdoor cooking, the variety of gas and charcoal grills has never been better.

Mike Zamora, store director at Barbeques Galore in Henderson, said what it basically comes down to is what type of cooking a person wants to do and how much time he or she plans to spend preparing a meal.

A single guy would probably be happy with a traditional propane gas grill on a cart to flip his burgers, hot dogs and the occasional steak. But with the growing popularity of cooking shows dominating the airwaves and celebrity chefs opening their own restaurants, more and more people are becoming foodies. They want to emulate what they see on cooking networks and are demanding the professional tools to achieve what their taste buds are craving.

Read Full Article

BTEC Asks Senate to Expand Community Wood Energy and Innovation Program in 2018 Farm Bill   
Biomass Magazine

More than 30 organizations, including the Biomass Thermal Energy Council, Alliance for Green Heat and Pellet Fuels Institute, sent a letter to leaders of the Senate Agriculture Committee on Aug. 17 urging the Senate to expand the Community Wood Energy and Innovations Program in the final version of the Farm Bill.

The U.S. House passed its version of the 2018 Farm Bill on June 21. That legislation included an expansion of the CWEIP. One week later, on June 28, the U.S. Senate passed its version of the 2018 Farm Bill. The Senate version, however, did not include an expansion of the CWEIP. The legislation will soon head to conference committee where members of the House and Senate will resolve differences between the two versions of the bill.

Within the letter, the BTEC and other groups noted that language in the House version of the Farm Bill would expand the CWEIP into a "more robust competitive nationwide grant program administered by the USDA Forest Service, with a $25 million annual authorization, for community-scale wood energy and value-added forest products projects."

Read Full Article

USDA Solicits Applications for Reap Funding  
Biomass Magazine

The USDA's Rural Business-Cooperative Service is soliciting fiscal year 2019 applications for the Rural Energy for America Program, which helps agricultural producers and rural small businesses install renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements.

REAP offers two types of funding assistance. Under the first, Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvement Assistance, the USDA provides grants and guaranteed loans to agricultural producers and rural small businesses to purchase and install renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements. Eligible renewable energy systems are biomass, including anaerobic digesters, wind, solar, small-hydo-electric, ocean, geothermal or hydrogen derived from renewable resources.

The second is the Energy Audit and Renewable Energy Development Assistance Grant, which is available to state, Tribal or local governments; institutions of higher education; rural electric cooperatives; public power entities; and councils. Recipients of the grants establish programs to assist agricultural producers and rural small businesses with evaluating the energy efficiency and the potential to incorporate renewable energy technologies into their operations.

Read Full Article


Pellet Fuels Institute

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