January 15, 2016

In this Week's Pellet Wire:

PFI Announces Webinar on Standards Program

The Pellet Fuels Institute is pleased to announce a webinar on the PFI Standards Program taking place on Wednesday, February 17, at 1pm EST/10am PST.

The EPA's New Source Performance Standards, finalized last year, requires stove manufacturers to test and certify stoves using fuel from one of three graded fuel programs, including the PFI Standards Program. Newly certified or recertified stoves are required to include language in their user manuals that the warranty will not be valid unless the customer uses graded fuel. 

Webinar participants will learn more about the EPA's requirements and the potential impacts for their businesses.

  • Appliance and pellet manufacturers will learn about the EPA's new requirements and how to comply with them.
  • Pellet fuel and appliance retailers will learn how to identify the Quality Mark, which signifies a product from a company qualified by the PFI Standards Program, as well as how to answer customers' questions about graded fuel.
  • Pellet fuels manufacturers will learn about the many benefits of joining the PFI Standards Program, from improving fuel consistency to enhancing operations. Speakers will also discuss recent changes to the program, among them a reduction in testing frequency requirements.

Webinar speakers will include John Shimek, SVP of North American Sales for Hearth & Home Technologies; John Crouch, Director of Public Affairs for Hearth Patio and Barbecue Association; Chris Wiberg, Lab Director, Timber Products Inspection; and Jennifer Hedrick, Executive Director, Pellet Fuels Institute. To register for the program, please visit PFI's website


Comments Due in Response to EPA's Proposed Federal Plan

Last year, the EPA's Clean Power Plan, which seeks to curb emissions from coal fired power plants, was finalized. While the plan is final, EPA is still seeking comments on an important portion of the rulemaking called the Federal Implementation Plan (FIP). 

Comments in response to the proposed FIP are due by January 21, 2016. You are encouraged to submit comments in response to this rule, as it will have an impact on your businesses and the entire biomass value chain.

Earlier this week PFI members were sent information on the rule's specifications and key points to include in submitted comments. If you did not receive this information please contact PFI staff.

The proposed FIP seeks comments on a range of issues relevant to biomass, including how biomass feedstocks should be tracked from harvest to combustion. A significant concern by many is that EPA may require a feedstock chain of custody requirement, adding additional costs to your business operations without any value added to the environment. 

Additionally, it appears that EPA seeks to establish a list of preapproved biomass feedstocks for states to use to meet the compliance requirements of the rule, with additional feedstocks added as the understanding of their climate impact is known over time. 

While the language is ambiguous, it also appears that EPA may require biomass to be sourced from sustainably managed forests. However, the rule offers no definition of sustainable management. 

Finally, the rule seems to look favorably upon biomass-based industrial byproducts for which there are no alternative markets; however, the types of biomass feedstocks we use in pellet production have multiple end markets. For example, EPA has concerns with sawdust and its many potential end markets: wood pellet fuel, animal bedding, composite panel manufacturing, and so on. EPA is concerned that if sawdust is deemed carbon neutral and markets for biomass energy become more attractive, sawmills that are currently selling mill residuals to composite panel facilities may begin selling their residuals to wood pellet manufacturers instead.   

States are charged with developing their own compliance plans for meeting the requirements outlined within the Clean Power Plan. EPA has proposed the Federal Implementation Plan as both a model for states to use in crafting their own plans or, alternatively, as the enforceable document in instances where states refuse to submit a plan of their own. Therefore, it is important that the FIP capture the benefits and use of biomass accurately and favorably. 

The PFI Government Affairs Committee is preparing comments on behalf of the association to submit by the January 21, 2016 deadline. We encourage each of you to submit comments on behalf of your own businesses as it's crucial for EPA to hear from all impacted stakeholders.

If you'd like more information or have questions as you draft your comments, please contact PFI Executive Director Jennifer Hedrick.

Further Reading:

  • More information on the Federal Information Plan can be found here.
  • An executive summary can be found here.
  • Instructions on how to submit comments by the January 21 deadline can be found here.

Register for Breakfast & Biomass in New Orleans, LA


PFI welcomes all attending the Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Expo to join us for our annual event, Breakfast & Biomass: A Briefing on the Pellet Market. At the session, we will address the latest trends and issues of importance to all involved in the industry. Join us on Friday, March 18, 2016 at 7:30am in the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. The event will include industry reports, networking opportunities and a full breakfast. 

Please visit PFI's website for more information on how to register for the $35 breakfast.

If you are planning to attend Expo, you're encouraged to book your hotel room soon. Hotel accommodations can be made on the Expo website


Get the Most out of your PFI Membership: Become a Sponsor 

Sponsoring PFI is a great way to ensure that your company is closely involved with all of our events and publications, with maximum exposure at a minimum cost. Most sponsorships include participation and visibility at PFI's major annual events - Breakfast & Biomass and the PFI Annual Conference. 

The newly developed 2016 sponsorship program creates multiple opportunities for your company in the year ahead. Your company will have great visibility at PFI events, on the PFI website, and in the PFI newsletter, as well as automatic registration for Breakfast & Biomass and other PFI events. The deadline is January 29 to be able to enjoy a year-long sponsorship of PFI and its programs.

The 2016 Sponsorship packages include benefits such as:

  • PFI Annual Conference registrations
  • Breakfast & Biomass registrations
  • Company logo listed on the PFI website
  • 10x10 booth at the PFI Annual Conference
  • Newsletter advertising
  • Website advertising
  • And more!

Join a growing list of PFI sponsors today. Visit the PFI website to learn more.

Upcoming Industry Events

January 28, 2016 : Western Forestry and Conservation Association Conference

February 24-26, 2016
: World Sustainable Energy Days 2016

March 18, 2016
: Breakfast & Biomass

March 30-April 1, 2016
: Northeast Biomass Heating Expo

April 5-7, 2016
: Argus Biomass 2016

April 11-14, 2016
: International Biomass Conference & Expo 2016

June 6-9, 2016
: European Biomass Conference & Exhibition

June 15-17, 2016
: International Bioenergy Conference

July 24-26, 2016
: PFI Annual Conference

Connect with PFI

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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

Agenda for technical sessions announced for the 2016 International Biomass Conference & Expo
Biomass Magazine
BBI International announced this week the agenda for the technical sessions of the 9th annual International Biomass Conference & Expo, North America's largest and fastest growing biomass conference, taking place April 11-14 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The 2016 agenda -- featuring four comprehensive tracks -- is tightly focused on leading edge developments in the biomass industry, from feedstock cultivation, harvest and storage to conversion technology, project finance and regulatory guidance.

The 2016 main program will include 30-plus panels and more than 100 speakers, including 90 technical presentations, all within the structured framework of four informative tracks:

Track 1: Pellets & Densified Biomass 
Track 2: Biomass Power & Thermal
Track 3: Biogas & Landfill Gas 
Track 4: Advanced Biofuels & Biobased Chemicals

Read the Full Article

EIA updates short-term bioenergy, residential wood heat forecasts
Biomass Magazine
The U.S. Energy Information Administration has released the January edition of its Short-Term Energy Outlook, predicting total renewables used in the electric power sector will increase by 9.5 percent this year.

Although President Obama signed legislation in December extending the Section 45 production tax credit for renewable energy through the end of this year, the EIA said it expects little impact from the extension because most plants that will enter service this year are already being developed. The administration also indicated the U.S. EPAs recent approval of the Clean Power Plan might also impact renewable builds over the next several years. However, the near-term effects will be less certain until states start to lay out their implementation plans. 

Across all sectors, the EIA predicts wood biomass will be used to generate 115,000 MWh per day of electricity this year, increasing to 118,000 MWh per day next year. Generation from waste biomass is expected to average 60,000 MWh per day each year.

Read the Full Article

Wood pellet system mulled for town hall
The Cabinet, NH
Town Hall needs a new heating system, and selectmen are rec­ommending a change to wood pellets.

An article for $117,900 will be placed on the warrant for Town Meeting in March. The purchase of the new sys­tem is contingent on receiving a rebate from the New Hampshire Public Utili­ties Commission. Such rebates are usu­ally about $25,000. The rebate will be ap­plied for in February.

Selectmen discussed the project sev­eral meetings ago, and met Monday, Dec. 28, with Doug Waitt, of Design Day Me­chanical, to get information and final fig­ures. Two members of the town's Energy Committee, Alison Meltzer and John Shepardson, were also present. Both support the new system.

Shepardson said the current system is "about 10 years old, but it looks 50, with some rust. It's in lousy shape."

Read the Full Article



Pellet Fuels Institute |  [email protected]   | 703.522.6778