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

September 18, 2020 

In this Week's Pellet Wire:

From the Director's Desk: Trend Towards Record Year Continues

Before I dig into the most recent industry data about our sector, I wanted to raise up two stories that my childhood church would have listed under the subject heading of “In Christian Concern” in the service bulletin.

The first are our brothers and sisters in the greater wood products sector and specifically, the wood pellet sector in the areas struggling with the massive forest fires in Washington, Oregon and California. The stories coming out of those tragedies of the loss of life, property and businesses are heartbreaking. One of these fires near Mill City, Oregon burned forested areas in the Santiam River valley, an area that past-chair Stan Elliot reminded me he and I had visited during a Chairman’s tour of the wood pellet supply chain the Pacific Northwest. During the tour we dropped in on Frank Pellets, who manufacture pellets from their adjacent sawmill residuals. Last week I called only to learn that phone service in the area was no longer functioning, which was unnerving. Eventually I learned that everyone at the plant was OK, as was the plant. We certainly wish our industry colleagues the best as they manage their way through a devastating fire event in their community.

Next, an inquiry found its way to me from my home state of Iowa. On August 10 a derecho swept across the eastern half of the state and into Illinois and Indiana. The most significant damage was in Iowa as millions of acres of corn were flattened. Cedar Rapids, one of Iowa’s largest communities was hit hard as well. Last week, an email plea for guidance found its way to me from Amy Drahos, Senior Air Quality Scientist at the Linn County Public Health office. High winds devastated the city’s urban tree canopy and now the city is confronting massive piles of storm ravaged trees. Wondering where all of this material could go, Amy began casting a wide net eventually finding HPBA’s John Crouch who connected her to me.  I reached out to Amy and explained that I thought interest in urban wood waste in Cedar Rapids that would need to be sorted, hauled and eventually dried somewhere else was unlikely but I offered to share her story here, on the chance that someone, somewhere might have an option for her. Anyone looking to speak with Amy should start with her email: [email protected].

Now for a little good news. The EIA released data for June wood pellet production, inventory and sales today and it is now clear that the impact of COVID-19 on our sector as a whole has been insignificant. I recognize that individual operations have had their challenges and I’m not looking to diminish or gloss over those, but the numbers released on Wednesday show that June of 2020 was the biggest June in the report’s history when looking at sales, production and raw material purchases. Year to date, we’ve produced 955,000 tons compared to 917,000 tons over the same period last year. The sales side of the ledger highlights an even bigger step forward from last year with sales-to-date coming in at 943,000 tons compared to 887,000 tons over the same period last year. I’m encouraged by these numbers and thankful that in a year with so much uncertainty and disruption in our lives that our working lives continue to hum right along. 

Tim Portz 
Executive Director

Photo of the Week: New Raw Materials Tent Cover at Pacific Coast Pellets

A picture is worth a thousand words, but in this case this photo of Pacific Coast Pellets bears no evidence of the windstorm that was bearing down on the plant as the installers were completing this project. Plant staff urged the covering team to keep working through lunch and the project was completed just hours before a significant wind event descended on the facility. The plant was happy to buy everyone a late lunch after a potentially dicey situation was avoided.

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

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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! 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. 

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Industry News

Hearth & Home Magazine Calling It Quits After 40 Years

After 40 years and 480 issues, Village West Publishing/Hearth & Home is no longer. The lights have been flicked off, the key turned in the lock, what is left are the memories..."

ED’s Note: This one caught me completely by surprise Hearth. I’ve spent time on the phone with both Richard and Bill as I know many of you have. As a former trade journalist, I hate to see good titles reach the end of the road. The Business Climate section of the publication was one of my go-to monthly reads.

Read Full Article

June Wood Pellet Data Released by Energy Information Administration

As of June 2020, the monthly data collection included 83 operating manufacturers of densified biomass fuel. These manufacturers had a total production capacity of 11.80 million tons per year and collectively had an equivalent of 2,224 full-time employees.

Read Full Article

Mill City, Santiam Canyon Sustains Heavy Damage from Wildfires (Statesman Journal)

Highway 22 west of Mill City was lined with walls of flames.

Ash fell like snow on the road so heavy drivers had a hard time finding the median line of the road.

The smoke was so thick it neared whiteout conditions...

Read Full Article

Grilling Secrets for Your Labor Day Weekend (member mention – Lignetics) matter what equipment you’re using, the secret to making a big impact on the flavor of your food is BBQ pellets.

Read Full Article

















Pellet Fuels Institute

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