November 11, 2016

In this Week's Pellet Wire:

Trump Win a Win for Rural America

Donald Trump scored a stunning and, to many, unexpected win this week in the presidential election. With a Trump Administration and a majority Republican House and Senate, here are a few potential resulting outcomes for the domestic pellet industry:

  • Investments in Rural America. Donald Trump's base resides primarily in rural America, and he has repeatedly recognized the difficulties experienced by rural Americans and their communities. He's also expressed interest in investing in and improving infrastructure. The pellet fuels industry, located large in rural areas, stands to gain from these types of initiatives.
  • Comprehensive Tax Reform. Republicans have long indicated a desire to take on comprehensive tax reform, particularly focusing on corporate tax rates. Few expected a Republican Congress and Administration, and now leaders like Sen. Mitch McConnell are enthusiastic about the prospect of implementing their tax policies. On the other hand, the Republican victory may reduce the odds of passing a tax extender package in the upcoming Lame Duck session.
  • Clean Power Plan in Jeopardy. It's doubtful that a Trump Administration EPA will continue to support the Clean Power Plan, even if the D.C. Circuit Court decides in its favor. This may negatively impact long term prospects of investing in biomass on the state level. 

PFI is closely monitoring developments in Washington, ready to engage with the Trump transition team and new GOP Congress and assessing the impacts for the pellet fuels industry. We will keep PFI members informed.

Congressional Look Ahead: Lame Duck and Beyond

Lame Duck

Members of Congress return to Washington next week to finish out the 114th Congress. Enacting a measure to keep the government funded into 2017 will be a key focus. Recall that the current funding measure runs out December 9. Although we will not know the Lame Duck agenda definitively until Members are back in town, we expect that an omnibus spending bill will be fashioned in the weeks leading up to Christmas. This will be a key opportunity for us to enact some of our policy priorities, including provisions codifying the concept of biomass carbon neutrality. We may also see an energy bill conference committee report come together, where this issue could be addressed. Tax extenders-including the Sec. 25C pellet stove credit and the BTU Act-are also in play. The situation is very fluid.

Congressional leadership elections will also be held. Republicans are expected to hold closed door leadership elections on November 15. Democrats are expected to do the same the following week. There is some speculation that House Speaker Paul Ryan may be challenged, but at this time we expect him to lead the House in the 115th Congress.

Committee Changes in 2017

While there will not be wide scale turnover in committee chairmanships in the Senate, some key panels in both chambers will be subject to changes. On the Senate side, either John Barasso (R-WY) or Shelly Moore Capito (R-WV) will take over for Jim Inhofe (R-OK) as the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee gavel. Under party rules, Inhofe is term -limited in that post. 

In the House, chairmanships for both the House Energy & Commerce and Appropriations Committees, among others, will be contested.

We will be compiling a more detailed analysis of leadership and key committee changes in the coming days and weeks and provide our best crystal ball on what we can expect going forward in 2017.

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

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Industry News

Winter Fuel Alternatives to Keep you Warm
WWLP Massachusetts
The temperatures may have been moderate these last few days but cold air is on the way. 22News is working for you with different alternatives for winter fuel.

Central heat, space heaters, fire places, pellet stoves, all options to help you keep warm this winter.

Most of us didn't have our heat on Tuesday when temperatures were in the 60s but most of us might be turning our heat back on as we get ready for possibly the coldest air of the season.

Read the Full Article

Heating Prices Will Be Less This Year
WWLP Massachusetts
It's November and people are already thinking about how they will stay warm in the months ahead. More and more Franklin County residents have switched to wood-pellets.

"My daughter is using a wood pellet stove because she didn't have the oil option and she felt the wood pellet was the most economical," said Analee Wulfkuhle of South Deerfield.

Wood pellet stoves have become more popular for people to keep their homes warm during the winter, but there are residents who prefer other options, like oil.

Read the Full Article

Wood Pellets Offer Low-Cost CO2 Reduction
Biomass Magazine
FutureMetrics recently published a white paper, titled "The Lowest Cost Solution for Maximum Decarbonization of the Power Sector While Maintaining Grid Reliability," that compares two scenarios for powering carbon emissions in the power generation sector.

The first scenario assumes coal plants are retired and replaced with new combined cycle natural gas generation stations. The second assumes that existing pulverized coal plants are modified to use wood pellets rather than coal. Within the paper, author William Strauss notes his analysis shows converting coal plants to wood pellets is the solution that provides significantly higher carbon dioxide reduction at a lower net monetary cost per avoided ton.

Read the Full Article


Pellet Fuels Institute |  [email protected]   | 206.209.5277