December 2, 2016

In this Week's Pellet Wire:

Update on Congressional "Lame Duck" Session

Members of Congress returned to Washington in November to a drastically changed political landscape. Before the election on November 8, PFI and our trade association allies in the forestry, biomass and forest products industries had anticipated a Lame Duck session of Congress that would present opportunities to finish out the year with some policy wins. That prospect now appears to be greatly diminished, as leadership in both chambers is focused solely on enacting a measure to fund the government through March 2017. Our plan to work language into a year-end spending deal to codify the concept of biomass carbon neutrality and move the BTU Act and pellet stove credit is not likely to materialize in the context of appropriations as this short term government funding measure is expected to be "clean," meaning free of policy riders.

Energy bills passed both chambers and are now subject to conference committee negotiations. Reports continue to give at least some hope that an energy bill conference report could come together. Recall that we have favorable biomass carbon neutrality language in the Senate energy bill, which we have been working to secure in any final energy conference deal.

For the first six months of 2017, Republican leaders are signaling that their two primary policy objectives are tax reform and repealing the Affordable Care Act. It is anticipated that these two measures will be pursued through budget reconciliation, a parliamentary maneuver that allows legislation to clear the Senate by a simple majority vote instead of the more difficult 60 vote threshold required to end a filibuster. And obviously a government funding bill will also have to be passed by the end of March.

While we are disappointed that this Lame Duck is going to be just that-lame-we anticipate a busy start to the New Year and will be looking for all opportunities to advance all planks on our policy agenda with the new Congress.

PFI Standards Program: Newly Qualified Company & Reminder of Marketing Materials

The PFI Standards Program this week welcomed Greenwood, South Carolina-based Colombo Energy as the program's 17th qualified company.

As consumers and retailers focus on pellet purchases for the 2016-2017 winter season, we want to remind PFI members of the resources available to you to help you communicate about the PFI Standards Program and what it means for buyers.

One pager on the Standards Program: Our informational handout on the PFI Standards Program explains the program and its implications for pellet producers, retailers and stove manufacturers. It also lists the companies that have been qualified for the program, along with their websites.

One pager on the symbols found on pellet bags: We have created a one pager specifically explaining the various PFI logos and marks found on bags of pellets. It helps retailers distinguish the PFI Standards Program Quality Mark from other commonly used symbols. This handout is also ideal for printing off and distributing to customers or posting in a store.

Materials for members of the program: For qualified companies, we have created a marketing kit with suggested language for ensuring that customers and retailers are aware of your company's acceptance into the program and what it means. It also includes suggested language for websites.

If you are interested in receiving any of these materials, please contact Carrie Annand at [email protected]. If you are interested in joining the program, first step is to visit PFI's Standards Program web pages to identify an accredited auditing agency. The agency will help you come up with a Quality Control manual and get you on the path to joining the program.

Pellet Mill Magazine Offers Free Webinar on Coproduct Production

Join Pellet Mill Magazine on Thursday, December 8 at 2pm CST for a free webinar on maximizing profits through producing additional products on-site. The webinar is based on the results of a survey the magazine conducted of pellet producers on their business models and what they see as opportunities for growth.

The practice of manufacturing products for markets other than residential or commercial properties is growing amongst North American pellet producers. In an effort to better understand the reasons, motivation and impact of this practice, Pellet Mill Magazine conducted a comprehensive producer survey. Robust survey response revealed that coproduct manufacturing can provide significant financial impact for producers, but they are far from guaranteed. This webinar will offer attendees a comprehensive review and analysis of the survey data as well as a presentation from RUF Briquetting Systems on the benefits of deploying non-pellet wood fiber product equipment at pellet plants.

Visit Pellet Mill Magazine for more information.

Follow and Connect With Us on Social Media!

We urge all PFI members to engage with us on social media. By joining PFI in being visible and active on social media, we can make our voices heard more loudly and by many more audiences.

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Have News to Share on Pellet Wire?

We'd love to feature your company's news in a future Pellet Wire! We want to be the first to know your company's recent developments to share them with the wider pellet fuels industry.

Please be in touch with Carrie Annand 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.


Upcoming Industry Events 

March 3, 2017: PFI Breakfast & Biomass

July 23-25, 2017: PFI Annual Conference

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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

Wood Pellet Distribution Facility Opens in Oxford, Mass
Worcester, Mass. Telegram
A group of International Falls businessmen will open a brand-new $230 million wood-pellet plant in Arkansas next week that could offer a blueprint for economic development in northern Minnesota.

Highland Pellets will begin churning out 600,000 metric tons of pellets per year for a wood-fired power plant in England. The company is run by, among others, Dennis Wagner, the president of Wagner Construction, and Marty Goulet, its chief financial officer.

Read the Full Article

Drax Seeks to Reinvent Itself for a Post-Coal Future
Financial Times
Drax, owner of the UK's largest power station, is aiming to turn itself into a company that bolsters wind and solar energy as it embarks on a sweeping strategic shift to cope with a post-coal future.

The group has spent the past four years converting nearly half its colossal coal power plant in North Yorkshire to burn wood pellets, with the help of more than £450m in green energy subsidies in 2015 alone.

But as ministers cool on offering more support for such ventures and pursue plans to phase out coal power by 2025, Drax is looking at retooling itself for what its chief executive, Dorothy Thompson, said was a "dramatically changing" energy system.

Read the Full Article

Local Wood for Local Good
Bennington Banner, Vermont
Recent news coverage has detailed how our forestry sector is struggling due to a collapsing market for low-grade wood. Maintaining a working forestry economy should be a concern to all Vermonters, whether or not you or a family member works directly in the woods. Forestry and logging are a part of Vermont's rich heritage and culture which is reason enough to preserve it, but it is also a necessary cornerstone for Vermont's renewable energy economy.

The Clean Energy Development Fund (CEDF) is supporting the forest products sector by promoting renewable energy that uses low-grade wood. Heating with local wood is a great way to not only grow clean energy jobs and related economic activity, but also to increase our use of renewable energy while decreasing carbon emissions.

Read the Full Article


Pellet Fuels Institute |  [email protected]   | 206.209.5277