January 4, 2019 

In This Week's Pellet Wire:

From the Director’s Desk – 2019: A Look Forward

Opinions vary on the necessity and wisdom of utilizing a brand-new year as a catalyst for new goals and new resolutions. I’ve always been a big fan as a new year provides us all with a blank canvas on which to imagine our best personal and professional selves. In that spirit, I’d offer up the following as a decent start at what the PFI would like to accomplish in 2019:

  1. Gain some certainty and clarity around the NSPS and what it means for pellet fuels and our downstream partners in the retail category. This one is a carryover from last year and if we’re being honest, a carryover from the last three years. That said, as 2018 ended, resolution of this issue seemed likely in 2019. Before the holidays kicked off past PFI chairman Stephen Faehner testified on PFI’s behalf at an EPA public hearing. The deadline for the submission of written comments (PFI is already at work finalizing its comments) is January 14 at which time the EPA will begin its work reviewing the comments and making their final decisions on their proposed amendments. The potential fly in the ointment is the current federal shutdown but it seems unlikely that 2019 will end without a final decision on the inclusion of minimum pellet fuel requirements, appliance sell-through provisions and other aspects of the regulation the PFI has been watching and working on for over three years.
  1. Expand our ambitious Operation 100k initiative. Within the first few months of 2018, Operation 100k was imagined and initiated. The premise is simple; reestablish 100,000 units as the annual average for wood pellet burning appliances sold in the United States. The best strategy to pursue is less clear. In 2018 we designed and launched a social media beta test to carry the message of pellet heating to consumers in six target markets. Before 2018 drew to a close the test had generated two million impressions, reaching over 100,000 individual consumers. The end goal, however, is not to generate impressions but instead appliance sales. As the test draws to a close in the first months of 2019 we’ll go to work interviewing our retail partner participants to better understand the impact they feel the program had on their appliance sales during the 2018-19 heating season. In 2019, we need to push beyond our modest social media efforts. PFI recognizes that the use of social media is just one arrow in its promotional quiver and in 2019 we must diversify how we take our message of affordable, made-in-the-USA, renewable space heat to consumers.
  1. Reintroduce the PFI Standards Program to retailers and consumers. PFI has developed the most robust and rigorous pellet quality program in the world and an impressive percentage of our producer members have adopted it and built their own quality assurance platform around it. Increasingly, however, we’re hearing from retailers that the pellet buying consumer isn’t clear on what it means about the pellets in the bag. In November, our board established three strategic priorities to guide PFI as it moves into 2019 and beyond and it wasn’t a surprise to me that resolving this disconnect made the top three. In many ways, we’ll have to answer the same questions to achieve this goal as we do Operation 100k. In the content overloaded world, we currently live in how do we reach the consumer at just the right time to deliver our message of the availability of pellets whose quality is assured?
  2. Expand our ranks. In 2018 we worked hard to stabilize PFI and bring a renewed sense of focus to the organization. It makes sense then that in 2019 we invite new members and members who allowed their memberships to lapse to contribute to our efforts. This effort starts now. If you are reading this and nodding in approval but are not currently a member of PFI I would urge you to consider joining our cause. During our last board meeting, the PFI board authorized me to offer a discounted membership rate for new members in 2019 as we work to expand our membership and increase the voices inside of our organization. I’d love to talk to you about it. Feel free to send me a short note at [email protected] and we can establish a time to talk.

There’s certainly more to do, but if the PFI made undeniable progress on the items above we’d feel very good about what we accomplished in 2019.

Tim Portz
Executive Director

Become a 2019 PFI Sponsor Now! 

Don't miss the opportunity to sponsor PFI in 2019! Sponsorship at all levels brings many perks, along with exposure for your company to the pellet fuels industry. By signing up to sponsor the association early in 2019, you will reap the benefits throughout the coming year.

The 2019 sponsorship packages include benefits such as:

  • PFI Annual Conference registrations
  • Company logo listed on the PFI website
  • 10x10 booth at the PFI Annual Conference
  • Weekly newsletter advertising
  • Website advertising
  • And more!

PFI's membership list includes more than 100 companies, and the Pellet Wire, our electronic newsletter, is sent to close to 2,000 subscribers every week. Now is the time to become a sponsor of this organization. Visit our website to explore how you can become involved.

Photo of the Week - Indeck Ladysmith 
We're building a collection of photos of our members, their pellets mills and product. Send them to Carrie Annand at [email protected]. This week’s featured photo is from Tim Portz's visit to Indeck Ladysmith last January.   

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 LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook!
  2. Encourage your colleagues and other business associates to follow us.
  3. Send Carrie Annand via email at [email protected] news or other ideas to post on LinkedIn.

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 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. 

Upcoming Industry Events

March 14 - 16, 2019: HPBA Expo 2019

June 4 - 6, 2019: 2019 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.

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

Traeger Pellet Grills buys Redmond plant 
Bend Bulletin, Oregon

Traeger Pellet Grills is the new owner of a wood pellet plant in Redmond.

Traeger bought Pacific Pellet for an undisclosed sum, said Jeff Raines, one of Pacific Pellet’s co-founders. Raines, who also co-founded the former Oregon Telecom, declined to discuss Pacific Pellet’s business, other than to say it produced pellets for home heat and smoker-grills.

This is the third time in recent decades the Redmond plant on E. Antler Avenue has shifted with the wood products industry. Crown Pacific produced plywood at the plant before Pacific Pellet started in 2010.

Read Full Article

Vermonters Warming Up to Advanced Wood Heating
The Bridge, Vermont

Since high-grade Austrian wood pellet boilers first began arriving in Vermont about 10 years ago, they have grown significantly in popularity, providing ever-increasing amounts of supposedly carbon-neutral heat to Vermont homes and buildings, with 85 systems installed statewide in 2017, the highest amount yet on record.

These are not the simple, compact pellet stoves that heat living rooms and bedrooms around the state, but state-of-the-art systems dubbed “advanced wood heat” (AWH) by proponents such as Ansley Bloomer, assistant director of Renewable Energy Vermont, and Emma Hanson, wood energy coordinator of the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation.

“It’s literally just like any other fuel type,” says Bloomer, with a delivery truck that pulls up and delivers the fuel to either a storage bin or silo to be automatically fed into the boiler as needed and free of the heavy lifting, muscle straining, or constant cleaning associated with traditional wood stoves, fireplaces, or pellet stoves. Just turn the thermostat on the wall, as you would with oil, propane, or gas.

Read Full Article

FutureMetrics: Global pellet trade up 26% in 2018
Biomass Magazine 

Read Full Article


Pellet Fuels Institute

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