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

December 13, 2019 

In this Week's Pellet Wire:

Executive Director's Notes: Best Days of 2019 

I’m a big fan of “Top Five” lists, particularly when looking back through a year that is nearly complete. Recently, I’ve been talking a lot about how our time in Washington, D.C. was arguably the most productive day with the PFI in my tenure. That got me thinking about what other days this year could make my top five list. Here they are, in reverse order:

5) 2020 Annual Conference Site Visit (August 14) 

A strong annual conference is vital to any trade association. After hosting a very strong and successful conference earlier in the year (see #3), the PFI conference committee was eager to begin setting the table for an even more successful event in 2020. Together with conference Committee Chair Kenny Lisle (Energex), I traveled to Milwaukee to inspect the conference hotel and identify some entertainment possibilities for our conference attendees. We left Milwaukee confident that we’d selected a great city for our event, and that the strong momentum we generated in Hershey at our 2019 conference will carry forward into 2020. 

4) Pacific Northwest Chairman's Tour (April 24)

Don Wagner (Appalachian Wood Pellets) launched the idea of a chairman’s tour last fall, and past-chair Stan Elliot (Pacific Coast Pellets) liked it so much he organized a trip through the Pacific Northwest in the spring. The trip included the three hallmarks of a quality chairman’s tour; a look around the chairman’s facility, a handful of retailer visits and a conversation with a nonmember producer. Of particular interest was our time spent with Coastal Farm & Ranch, a regional multilocation retailer who set a very high bar for wood pellet appliance retailing. Coastal’s hearth store within a store concept is impressive, and wood pellet users in the region are well-served by an organization that boasts an impressive roster of knowledgeable wood pellet appliance professionals. Finally, we were thrilled the good folks at Packsaddle Pellets agreed to invite us into their operation to discuss their business and the role the PFI plays in the industry.  A face-to-face conversation is a great way to begin a dialogue about the benefits of PFI membership and the work the organization is doing for the industry.

3) Opening Day PFI Annual Conference (June 5)

When we selected the Hershey Lodge for our 2019 event, we were excited about the venue and the opportunity to fold in an important industry tour (Hearth & Home Technologies) into our agenda, but the relative success of the event was still an unknown. By the time our opening reception had kicked off, it was clear that the 2019 conference was going to be a success by any measure. The conference enjoyed strong participation beginning with the board meeting on Tuesday all the way through the industry tour on Friday. The panel discussions on Thursday were robust, loaded with detail (the presentation from Connor Murphy at the U.S. EIA comes to mind) and looked closely at our industry through the lens of both retailers and producers. Finally, the show was a financial success which is far from certain for association events. 

2) Chairman's Tour – Maine (September 16)

When current chairman John Utter (Lignetics) asked me how I felt about touring Maine and New Hampshire for his chairman’s tour, I didn’t hesitate to accept the invitation. Until this trip, I’d never been to Maine, and I was completely blown away in both a personal and professional capacity. The state’s beauty strikes anyone who visits almost immediately, myself included. From a professional standpoint, I don’t think I’ve been to a part of this country where our industry is more immediately visible than Maine. When I arrived, consumers had already started receiving their first pellet orders, and home after home had a pallet or two of pellets sitting in the driveway. John checked all the boxes and we met with member facilities, retailers and nonmember facilities.

1) Pellet Fuels Institute Fly-In (October 30) 

This really wasn’t a contest—in fact, I’ve described our fall board meeting and fly-in as the best day of my two-year tenure as executive director of the PFI. If you are completely unfamiliar with what we accomplished while we were in D.C. together, you can read the entire recap here. We were able to put together a nice-sized footprint, holding meetings at 36 different congressional offices and talking about our industry and how federal policy impacts us. Shortly after our trip, provisions from the BTU Act were included in the House’s green energy tax package, certainly the most promising development in the legislation’s 10-year history. Finally, we had an important conversation with Anne Idsal, the acting assistant administrator at the U.S. EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. For the past five years, the PFI has been fighting the inclusion of hastily considered and poorly crafted minimum pellet fuel requirements in the New Source Performance Standards. While we still don’t know about the EPA’s final decision on the matter, we were happy to have the opportunity to share our concerns with the right folks at the EPA in person.

Tim Portz 
Executive Director

 Send us Photos! 

Photo of the Week: Cheers to a Successful Fly-In

John Shimek, Hearth & Home Technologies; Tim Portz, Pellet Fuels Institute; Kenny Lisle, Energex; and Billy Hoskins, Easy Heat, enjoy refreshments at Reagan National Airport after a very productive fly-in in late October.

John Shimek, Hearth & Home Technologies; Tim Portz, Pellet Fuels Institute; Kenny Lisle, Energex; and Billy Hoskins, Easy Heat, enjoy refreshments at Reagan National Airport after a very productive fly-in in late October.

Help us build a collection of photos of our members, their pellets mills, and product! Send images to Tim Portz at [email protected].

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 TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn!
  2. Encourage your colleagues and other business associates to follow us.
  3. Send Tim Portz news or other ideas to post on PFI's social media. 

Have News to Share on Pellet Wire?

We'd love to feature your company's news in a future Pellet Wire! Let us be the first to know about your company's recent developments, and we will share them with the broader pellet fuels industry.

Please get in touch with Tim Portz via email at [email protected] 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.  

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.

Thanks for Your Continued Support of PFI! 

Not a member yet? Learn more about how PFI can work for you and join today! If you think you are getting this message in error, please contact the PFI Office at [email protected].

Industry News

EIA: Densified biomass fuel sales reach 900,000 tons in August (Biomass Magazine): 

The U.S. Energy Information Administration recently released data showing U.S. manufactures produced 820,000 tons of densified biomass fuel in August, with sales reaching 900,000 tons ...

Read Full Article

Enviva awarded construction permit for Alabama pellet plant (Biomass Magazine): 

Construction on the facility is expected to begin in early 2020, subject to final investment approval. Construction is expected to take approximately 15-18 months ...

Read Full Article

Mitsubishi plans biomass conversion of Japanese power plant (Biomass Magazine):

Japan-based Mitsubishi Corp. on Dec. 4 announced plans to convert the Suzukawa Energy Center Ltd. to biomass. The 112-megawatt facility is currently fired with coal. The plant is expected to begin producing renewable energy from wood pellets in April 2022. 

Read Full Article

Drax aims to become carbon negative by 2020 (Canadian Biomass Magazine):

Leading British energy company, Drax Group Plc, will be the first company in the world to announce an ambition to become carbon negative ...

Read Full Article

Council paves way for possible new pellet plant (West Alabama Watchman):

The Council voted for a change in a city ordinance to allow Two Rivers Lumber Co. to purchase the land it now leases from the city and provide space for Pinnacle Renewable Energy for construction of an $80 million pellet plant. The new industry could provide some 50-60 jobs.

Read Full Article

Pellet Fuels Institute

[email protected] | (206) 209-5277 |