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

September 6, 2019 

In this Week's Pellet Wire:


Executive Director's Notes: September 6, 2019

Try, Try Again

Recently, longtime wood pellet advocate, Charlie Niebling, circulated an email urging pellet producers to support a targeted push to revitalize the effort to get the BTU Act passed into law once and for all. The BTU Act has been on the radar of the Pellet Fuels Institute for the better part of a decade. For better or worse, the long, slow journey to getting the bill to a vote and becoming law has generated what I like to call BTU Act Fatigue (BTUAF). I understand this malady with regard to this important legislation and am comfortable reporting that I too find myself suffering from intermittent BTUAF.

The problem with BTUAF, however, is that the BTU Act seeks to right a federal policy wrong, that until corrected, treats wood pellet heating differently than it does other renewables. Wind and solar energy installations generate tax credits for the consumers who install them, sweetening the pot a bit to get a consumer to take action. The BTU Act seeks to achieve parity for biomass heating (including wood pellets) with other renewables. As a trade organization, the PFI cannot succumb to BTUAF. Recognizing that, I reached out to Charlie, bemoaning my own BTUAF and hoping he could help me understand where and how the BTU Act might be finding some traction now.

The long and short of the situation is this; A bipartisan effort is underway in Congress and the Senate to pass a renewable energy tax credit extension this fall. “But Tim, we don’t have a credit in place to extend. How does this help us?” you ask. This is where we have to trust those who make a living watching how the sausages get made in D.C. The basic idea is that as this extenders package gets worked on in various committees, the opportunity to clean up certain omissions or tweak existing programs becomes available. According to Charlie and some others, the committee handling the renewable energy tax package in the house is the Ways and Means committee.

It sounds like support for the inclusion of the BTU Act within a fall clean energy extenders package has support from the minority members (Republican) of the committee and what is needed are a couple of majority (Democrat) sponsors. I’ll be putting together some letters urging these members to right a longtime policy misstep and include the BTU Act in the fall extenders package. I’ll be sure to post my letters on the PFI website for your use as well. In particular, if you are represented by one of the Democrats on the committee, a phone call would be greatly appreciated. I asked Charlie if the timing of our fly-in would be advantageous to this effort and he thought if something WAS going to get done it would get done before late October.

Stay tuned to future Pellet Wires for more information.

The Maine Objective

Last year, Don Wagner invented the now traditional “Chairman’s Visit”, sponsored by the sitting chairman of the PFI board. John Utter (Lignetics) and other members of his team are putting together what looks like an incredible handful of days in both Maine and New Hampshire. I’ve never been to Maine and am looking forward to seeing this country’s 23rd state. Maine is an important pellet making and pellet burning state and I’m looking forward to having a look around as producers and retailers that await the onset of the 2019-2020 heating season. Full coverage of the trip will be featured in the September 20 edition of Pellet Wire.

Turn-key Social Media Program available for retailers

The PFI social media program is available for interested retailers for the 2019-20 heating season. In summary, the program designs and deploys sponsored ads on Facebook and Instagram about the benefits of wood pellet heating into the social media feeds of consumers in a specific market area. Additionally, the ads direct interested consumers to the websites of the participating retailer. The price for the program is $1,500 and includes a retail membership to the PFI and $400 in ad credits. Interested retailers or producers can learn more by watching the webinar recorded and linked here.

Tim Portz 
Executive Director

Send us Photos! 

 Photo of the Week


We’re building a collection of photos of our members, their pellets mills and product. Send them to Carrie Annand at [email protected]. This week's featured photo is from Tim Portz's visit to Indeck Ladysmith in January 2018. 

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Have News to Share on Pellet Wire?

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Why assumptions about biomass could be going up in smoke (National Geographic): 

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Pellet Fuels Institute

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