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

January 22, 2021 

In this Week's Pellet Wire:

From the Director's Desk: Moving Forward

On Wednesday morning the Pellet Fuels Institute Board convened for its first board meeting of 2021 and during a break board chairman Kenny Lisle joked that this was likely the first PFI board meeting to span two presidential administrations. The remark earned a few chuckles, while simultaneously underscoring the simple reality that regardless of how you feel about the outcome of the election, our industry moves forward starting this past Wednesday under a new administration.

I have long celebrated with anyone willing to listen how our corner of the renewable energy is unique in its ability to operate and flourish independent of federal mandates or significant subsidies. Often, I wore this as a badge of honor to assuage the frustration of representing interests often left behind in federal policy discussions focusing on how to support and propel forward renewable energy technologies. Say what you will about the Trump administration's general embrace of renewables, but the simple fact is his signature is the on the bill that finally saw provisions of the BTU Act cross the finish line. While some voices within our industry feel strongly that the Biden era will mean a continuation of increased opportunities and favorable policy treatment for our sector, I do not think it’s fair or wise to assume that is a certainty.

I appeared on a panel the last time the International Biomass Conference & Expo convened in person (Nashville, 2019) and an audience member asked the panel if we as representatives of our respective sectors felt that our sector “needed an administration change.” My answer for some may have seemed evasive. Probably a provocative question like that hopes to inspire a similarly provocative response, but in truth all industries must dance to the tune coming out of the beltway, ours included, regardless of who is playing. Our last significant policy victory came in the closing days of the Trump administration. Two months ago I doubt you would find many people willing to bet that provisions of the BTU Act would be signed into law by Donald J. Trump. Not many would take that bet, but there it is.

While it is true that early discussions of an early focus on climate change by the Biden administration may bode well for our sector, it is also true that some of the regulatory relief pellet producers experienced over the last four years may be unwound. As an old football coach of mine was quick to remind me, one must “keep their head on a swivel.”

The prudent thing for our organization to do is to remain engaged and educate our elected representatives about how the policy ideas or regulatory notions of the day impact our ability to do business, put people to work and contribute to the economy of this great country of ours.

Tim Portz 
Executive Director

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Industry News

Rambler Wood Products to bring 73 new jobs to the town of St. Paul

Rambler Wood Products will invest $7.6 million in the town of St. Paul and is expected to bring 73 new high-wage jobs.

The company will establish a new value-added wood products manufacturing facility in the former Bush Furniture building.

The nearly 300,000-square-foot facility will make Rambler the first business of its kind to operate entirely indoors, which will allow for full-capacity production year-round.

Read Full Article

Charlie Niebling Family Named NH Tree Farmers of the Year

Charles and Mabel Niebling of Boscawen have been named the 2021 Outstanding Tree Farmers of the Year.

“It is certainly an honor to be recognized among so many dedicated New Hampshire forest stewards who have received the Tree Farmer of the Year award over the years,” Niebling said in a Division of Forests and Lands news release. “This has been a labor of love for me and my family; our commitment to the land is simply to leave it better than we found it 20 years ago.”

Read Full Article

Pellet Fuels Institute

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