July 10, 2015

PFI Annual Conference: Pre-Registration Extended!


PFI 2015 Annual Conference  
Sunday, July 19 – Tuesday, July 21, 2015 
Williamsburg Lodge

Registration Fees & FAQs | Conference Agenda | Sponsorship Opportunities | Hotel & Travel

Pre-registration for the PFI 2015 Annual Conference will now close at 8am Pacific Time on Wednesday, July 15th.  Register now to secure your spot at the conference and in the annual golf tournament.  Walk-in registrations will still be welcome onsite at the Williamsburg Lodge.

Sponsorship and Exhibit opportunities are still available! Maximize your marketing budget and explore the new sponsorship and exhibitor packages for the PFI Annual Conference. Be sure to check out which companies are already signed on to exhibit at the conference.

2015 Conference Gold Sponsors:



Please contact PFI staff  for more information about the conference at [email protected] or 206-209-5277

USDA Wood Energy "Check-Off" Program Update

Over the last couple of years, a number of individuals and companies from across the wood-to-energy segment of the broader forest products sector have been considering and discussing ways that might better address challenges to the wood-to-energy business while supporting opportunities for sustainable growth. 

A group of volunteers from three primary sub-segments of the industry– domestic market pellet producers; export market pellet producers; and biomass power producers – has launched an ad hoc process to study the potential of the USDA Research and Promotion Program (commonly called “checkoff”) to advance common goals. Check-off programs have been in use for more than 50 years, with primary adopters in the agricultural food sector. Although those check-off programs have often focused significant effort on consumer-oriented marketing, this industry, should a check-off program be adopted, would more than likely use check-off funds for research and education to enhance public understanding and perception of wood-to-energy as well as to found discussion on a scientific basis. For instance, monies could be used for carbon research, forest health and sustainability research.

The group, operating with funding from many companies within the three sectors and matching financial support from the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities, has formed the “Wood-to-Energy Check-off Work Group.” The Work Group is comprised of volunteer representatives from nine of those companies, with three people representing each sub-segment of the industry. Our group is truly ad hoc in that we are not formally representative of any trade association or group. We are committed to transparency and open communication as we explore the potential of a check-off program.

We have set as our primary purpose looking for ways to “expand markets for sustainable, renewable energy from wood”.

The entire process is expected to take at least 24-30 months. Over coming weeks we will develop background information about the industry; investigate how a check-off program’s research and promotion components might be designed to benefit needs; and determine the best way to keep industry members informed. By mid-summer we expect to have some specific concepts and ideas that can be shared broadly in an effort to engage all of the market participants in discussion. Although the process is funded independently, we have asked four primary association executives – the leaders of Biomass Power Association, Biomass Thermal Energy Council, Pellet Fuels Institute and US Industrial Pellet Association – to serve as non-voting advisors to the process. It is our intent to use 2015 to consider the viability of a check-off program as a tool for public promotion and market support. We have made no decisions about moving forward to launch a formal process beyond this study phase. Any such considerations won’t likely be on the table until late 2015 or early 2016, if at all.

We collectively believe that we can do greater things if we collaborate and consider new approaches to help ensure a brighter future. We welcome any questions or thoughts regarding the process. Please direct them to Bob Simpson, managing consultant for the project. He can be reached at [email protected].

Members of the Ad-hoc Work Group:

Export Market Pellet Manufacturers
Drax Biomass
Enviva Biomass, LLC
The Westervelt Company

Domestic Market Pellet Manufacturers
Forest Energy Corporation
Marth Companies
Energex Corporation

Biomass Power Producers
Greenleaf Power
ReEnergy Holdings LLC

Biomass Training Seminar in Austria, September 14-17

There’s still time to register for the International Training Seminar for Biomass Heating, which will be held September 14-17 in Linz, Austria.

The training is geared toward business owners and employees, as well as representatives of government agencies and NGOs who are interested in developing local/regional biomass heating markets. It is especially targeted to people from countries and regions where the market for automatic biomass heating is still emerging.

Lasting three days, participants will leave with information and proficiency on the technologies, economics and marketing of biomass heating. The program will include a mix of seminars, site-visits and interactive exchanges in an international group, and will be targeted to small- to mid-scale wood pellets and wood chips projects.

Please visit www.oec-en.at for reviews and more information.  

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Industry News

Enviva CEO resopnds to criticism
The News & Observer
In response to the June 18 Point of View “The wood-pellet industry and the harm it’s causing”: Our energy company is creating hundreds of jobs and investing hundreds of millions of dollars in Eastern North Carolina while making an environmentally sustainable product that protects Southern forests. And our wood pellets – a small, seemingly ordinary product – bring big reductions in climate change around the world.

Don’t take my word for it. Agencies like the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and researchers at Duke University and N.C. State University agree: Wood pellets are good for forests, the environment and the economy.

“An industry that can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase forest growth and create jobs sounds too good to be true,” Robert Johannson, the Agriculture Department’s acting chief economist, wrote earlier this month. “But that is the reality of the emerging wood pellets market in the Southern U.S.”

Read the Full Article

Nation's renewable energy consumption highest since the 1930s
Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — U.S. consumers are increasingly turning to solar, wind and biomass for their energy needs, driving domestic renewable energy consumption to its highest peak since the 1930s.

A recent analysis by the U.S. Energy Information Administration — an independent research service of the U.S. Department of Energy — found that renewables' share of the nation's energy consumption hit 9.8 percent in 2014.

That percentage, the analysis said, returns the country to its 1930 levels of renewable energy consumption, when wood was a larger contributor to domestic energy supplies.

Read the Full Article

Pinnacle plugs into the new power of wood
Business in Vancouver
As the name suggests, Pinnacle Renewable Energy Inc. is in the energy business. But it can also be considered a forestry company, because it has created an extra link in the value-added chain for the B.C. lumber industry.

Many British Columbians will remember beehive burners, which pumped tonnes of carbon and ash into the air by burning sawdust and other wood waste from sawmills.

Those burners have disappeared from the B.C. landscape thanks in no small part to companies like Pinnacle, which has turned that wood waste into a commodity: compressed wood pellets.

Read the Full Article




Pellet Fuels Institute |  [email protected]   | 703.522.6778