April 1, 2016

In this Week's Pellet Wire:

PFI Board Meeting Recap

While in New Orleans, LA, for the HPB Expo, the Pellet Fuels Institute Board of Directors convened for a meeting on March 17. A summary of the meeting follows.

Financial Update and Membership Committee Report
PFI came close to meeting its 2015 budget, greatly helped by the voluntary funding from a handful of companies to support legal expenses for PFI's continuing action regarding the EPA's New Source Performance Standard.

There have been 62 renewing members to date for 2016. For those of you who aren't members of PFI, we encourage you to commit to joining the association in 2016. There are many opportunities for you to be involved in PFI's initiatives and to benefit directly from PFI's advocacy of policy makers and end users on your behalf. When we are united as an industry, we will have more success seeing the regulatory and legislative outcomes that will benefit producers, suppliers, and most importantly our customers.

Read more about how membership in PFI benefits your business.

Do you know a company that may be interested in PFI membership? Please contact the PFI office at [email protected] or 206-209-5277

Government Affairs Update
Influencing legislative and regulatory activity remains a strong priority for PFI. In December, a two-year extension was achieved for the renewable energy investment tax credit provisions of section 25D. We are continuing to make progress on a deal that would provide a 30% tax credit and a national wood stove change out program championed by Sen. Leahy (D-VT).

The Senate Energy Bill, S. 2012, contained two important inclusions - thermal biomass recognition and USDA/EPA recognition of carbon neutrality of sustainably harvested forest biomass. The Senate has not yet taken up the bill. 

Click here for an overview of PFI's government affairs priorities for 2016.

Executive Director Search
The Board approved a measure to extend the SBI contract to include additional services during the search for and transition to a new executive director.         



Take the Mandatory U.S. Energy Information Administration Survey on Densified Biomass

Biomass fuel is a growing component of the energy sector worldwide, including the United States. However, reliable, comprehensive data on the U.S. densified biomass industry are lacking.

To help address this problem, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) developed the Densified Biomass Fuel Report (EIA-63C), a monthly survey of U.S. densified biomass producers, which collects data on feedstocks, production, sales, and prices of densified biomass products, primarily wood pellets.

EIA needs your support in submitting timely, accurate data about your production, sales, inventory, facility, and contact information. Your input will help EIA support the expanding biomass energy markets, and inform policy makers and the public on the growing use of biomass for energy.

The EIA-63C is a mandatory survey under Section 13(b) of the Federal Energy Administration Act of 1974 (Public Law 93-275), as amended. It must be completed by all operating and planned (within one year of expected operation) facilities that produce densified biomass products for fuel use.

For more information about EIA and the EIA-63C survey, please visit EIA's website (www.eia.gov) or contact the EIA Customer Care Team at [email protected] or 855-EIA-4USA (855-342-4872), Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

Pellet Fuels Institute Co-Hosts Heating the Midwest, October 11-13 in Michigan

Mark your calendar for the 2016 Heating the Midwest Conference, "Adopting Renewable Biomass Heat: Investing In Tomorrow's Sustainable Communities," taking place October 11-13, 2016 at the Island Resort & Casino near Escanaba, MI.

This event brings together leaders in the biomass/thermal/renewable energy industry to discuss and formulate strategies for expanding the use of biomass for thermal and combined heat and power (CHP) in the Midwest. The program includes important regional topics and the expo provides opportunities to view equipment and meet new industry partners. This event is an outstanding opportunity to support and grow the use of biomass thermal in the Midwest.

The Midwest relies heavily on fossil energy for heating homes and businesses. Heating the Midwest is a network of thermal biomass advocates working to increase awareness and usage of renewable biomass for heat, which has the potential to greatly reduce the region's dependence on propane and fuel oil for thermal energy.

Guided by a bold Vision, Heating the Midwest proposes that by 2025, 15% of all thermal energy in the Midwest come from renewable energy sources - 10% from sustainably produced biomass and 5% from solar thermal and geothermal sources. This shift in thermal energy sources has great potential to produce economic, social, and environmental benefits for the Midwest.

Save the Date!

The date is set for PFI's 2016 Annual Conference. Join us July 24-26 at the Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC! 

The PFI Annual Conference highlights the various applications of densified biomass, as well as trends and best practices within the densified biomass industry. It attracts a broad range of individuals from the public and private sectors, academia, and local, state and national governments from North America and beyond. The conference features two days of educational sessions as well as industry exhibits, extensive networking opportunities and a golf tournament. 

Visit PFI's website for more information. Be sure to watch this space as registration will open soon! Sponsorship and exhibiting opportunities are available now!

Upcoming Industry Events

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

PFI Newsletter
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.

Industry News

Wood products companies look for ways to branch out
Portland Press Herald
The flooring plant and sawmill at Kennebec Lumber Co. are bustling with activity on a weekday morning, as logs get measured and sliced into lumber and the boards are graded, stacked and prepared for shipping.

Meanwhile, just up the road, construction is nearing completion on a new biobrick manufacturing facility that will turn sawdust from the mill into a heating oil and firewood alternative - the eventual new home of Enviro Wood Briquettes.

And in Athens, to the east, a wood pellet manufacturer is looking forward to that form of fuel taking off.

All three businesses are examples of growing areas in Maine's forest industry sector amid a recent series of paper mill closings and concerns about the state of Maine's wood products economy.

Read the Full Article

A challenging cycle: Pellets, cheap oil and a warming planet
Biomass Magazine
At $49.51 a barrel, 2015 saw the lowest average crude oil prices in more than a decade. Couple low crude prices with the fact that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration pegs 2015 as the planet's warmest year on record and the result of these two converging factors equates to troubling times for the domestic wood pellet heating market. 

Wood pellet appliance sales appear to have a significant correlation with oil prices when looking at the historical data. In general, as oil prices trend up, U.S. wood pellet appliance unit shipments do the same, according to appliance data provided by the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association, OPEC crude oil average yearly prices from Statista, together, which were compiled by Pellet Mill Magazine. The divergence from the trend in 2014, however, may likely be attributed to a sharp decline in crude oil prices in the fourth quarter of that year (Graph 1).

Read the Full Article

Angus King tours areas hit by natural disaster of paper mill closures
Bangor Daily News 
An economic hurricane has devastated the state's paper industry, but unlike what would happen if an actual weather disaster had struck, the federal response to the devastation has been paltry, U.S. Sen. Angus King said Tuesday.

"What's happened in the paper industry is like a natural disaster. We have lost six mills in five years. We had some data that there are about 1,400 direct paper jobs lost, but there have been something like twice that many lost or compromised in associated industries," King said.

That's why King is leading a group of leaders from several federal economic development agencies on a two-day tour of the Lincoln Lakes and Katahdin regions. King's goal is to help create a united, comprehensive federal effort to help the state's forest products industries.

Read the Full Article



Pellet Fuels Institute |  [email protected]   | 703.522.6778