Catch up with PFI in this week's issue of Pellet Wire!



March 2, 2018

In This Week's Pellet Wire:

Maine Governor Paul LePage Sends Letter to President Trump Requesting Help in Passing BTU Act 

Last week, Maine Governor Paul LePage (R) sent the below letter to President Trump requesting his support for the Biomass Thermal Utilization Act, a legislative proposal that would make purchasers of pellet appliances eligible for a renewable energy tax credit. The BTU Act was introduced last year by Maine Senators Susan Collins (R) and Angus King (I), as well as Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vermont) and Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pennsylvania). While the legislation was not included in the tax package brokered as part of the budget deal last month, there may be an opportunity later this year for Congress to consider the bill.

February 22, 2018

President Donald J. Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20500


Dear Mr. President:

On behalf of the citizens of the great State of Maine, I respectfully request your help in enacting legislation that will help homes and businesses during our cold winter months while driving economic development across Maine's rural landscape.

The bill is known as the Biomass Thermal Utilization Act or BTU Act (S. 1480/H.R 3161). It would simply qualify thermal energy from biomass for existing tax credits available to geothermal, solar thermal, wind and other renewable energy sources. The bill levels the playing field for renewable heating technologies that are fueled with biomass-the types of biomass fuel that are abundant in my part of the country. The provisions of the BTU Act were close to being enacted as part of this month's budget agreement. Senate leadership was fully on board but House Republican leadership kept us out of the package. 

To paint a clearer picture of the current situation, a homeowner looking to convert their heating system from fuel oil to a geothermal system is able to qualify for a 30 percent investment tax credit for the total installed costs of the installation. That same homeowner looking to convert to a whole home, high efficient wood heating system that runs on wood pellets or wood chips receives nothing. Why? Because this sector did not have any presence in Washington when these credits were being crafted over 10 years ago. All we are asking is for Congress to right this wrong and provide a level playing field for this industry that is so critical to the economic well­being of Mainers.

Enactment of these provisions would not only help Mainers heat their homes, but would also help address the growing crisis in the sawmilling sector throughout Maine and the rest of the country where sawdust piles are mounting and operators are forced to landfill this clean, carbon neutral material. Wood pellet and pulp and paper facilities would ordinarily buy this material, but demand has been down the last couple of years. The BTU Act would help entrench sustainable demand for this material and be a jobs multiplier throughout Maine and the rest of rural America.

The bill would benefit businesses up and down the biomass value chain-from forest landowners and loggers, to wood pellet producers and heating system manufacturers, to fuel transportation logistics providers that operate the pneumatic trucks that refill the pellet hoppers for these systems.

We tried to get this done in tax reform and Chairman Hatch offered the BTU Act as an amendment just prior to markup of the tax bill. During the markup, the Senate decided that it would not address "energy extenders" in tax reform but would instead deal with them through a follow-up package. That follow-up package came a couple of weeks ago, but once again we were left behind.

Mr. President, please help us get this done this year.




Paul R. LePage


CC: The Honorable Rick Perry, United States Secretary of Energy

The Honorable Paul Ryan, Speaker, the United States House of Representatives

Send Us Photos to Feature at Breakfast & Biomass

Don't forget to send us photos of your product, mills, and people so we can feature them at Breakfast & Biomass! Submit photos for a free t-shirt. Thanks to Stan Elliot of Pacific Coast Pellets for the above photo. 

See you Next Week at Breakfast & Biomass: Playing Some Offense - A Discussion about the Practical Means of Promoting the Pellet Option

In the coming year, the Pellet Fuels Institute (PFI) is embarking upon a strategic initiative to take the message of the values and benefits of using wood pellets for home-heating to consumers. To appreciably grow the market opportunity for its members, the PFI recognizes that it must do more to promote pellet heating.

This year's Breakfast & Biomass panel will offer attendees an opportunity to hear the early thinking on the approaches and strategic partners the PFI must successfully deploy and engage to be successful. The panel will explore the PFI's plans to use social media, a revamped brand and online presence and increased engagement with our hearth and home customers, and the potential for all of those channels to make consumers more aware of wood pellet heat. Additionally, progress toward a check-off program for wood pellet producers will be discussed. 

Moderator: Stan Elliot, Chairman, Pellet Fuels Institute

  • Tim Portz, Executive Director, Pellet Fuels Institute
  • Bruce Lisle, President & CEO, Energex Corporation
  • Adam Martin, Martin's Sales and Service

For those who have already registered for the HPBExpo, here are the instructions to update your registration and sign up for the PFI Breakfast and Biomass:

  1. Go through the "Already Registered for a Badge" link: (orange box on the right).  
  2. You will need to have the email and password you used when badge name(s) were registered. 
  3. Then go to Registration Tools/List of Attendees/Edit Education. 
  4. Sign up and pay for the PFI Breakfast schedule for Friday March 9th
  5. You can also call Rachel Pratt at HPBA at 703-522-0086 ext.114 or email [email protected], and she can add it to your registration.

Become a 2018 PFI Sponsor in February and Register for Breakfast & Biomass

Don't miss the opportunity to sponsor PFI in 2018! 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 2018, you will reap the benefits throughout the coming year.

The 2018 sponsorship packages include benefits such as:

  • PFI Annual Conference registrations
  • Breakfast & Biomass 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.

We Need Your Input for PFI's 2018 Events

Are there any topics that you'd like to see addressed at Breakfast & Biomass or at PFI's Annual Conference? We'd like to hear from you. Nominate speakers and suggest panels, experts, themes, and ideas. The Conference Committee wants to be sure to reflect the preferences and needs of PFI membership as much as possible. 

Be sure to check our updated online calendar with information on many events happening during 2018, and mark your calendars!

Breakfast & Biomass at the HPB Expo in Nashville, TN - March 8-10, 2018

PFI Annual Conference in Myrtle Beach, SC - June 24-26, 2018 

If our calendar is missing any events that you're planning to attend, please email Carrie Annand

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 news or other ideas to post on LinkedIn.

Do You 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 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 8, 2018: HPB Expo

March 9, 2018: 2018 PFI Breakfast & Biomass

March 20, 2018: International Mass Timber Conference

April 16, 2018: International Biomass Conference & Expo

May 1, 2018: Heating the Midwest

Connect with PFI
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

Lignetics Acquires New England Wood Pellet 
Biomass Magazine

Today, Lignetics Inc. announced the acquisition of New England Wood Pellet LLC, which includes manufacturing plants in Jaffrey, New Hampshire; Schuyler, New York; Deposit, New York; and Youngsville, Pennsylvania, giving Lignetics a strong position in the New England and mid-Atlantic markets. Lignetics is the largest residential wood pellet manufacturing company in the U.S. which post-acquisition has a production capacity of approximately 1 million tons of wood pellets per year. The company is the only pellet manufacturer that has wood pellet manufacturing plants in the East, Central, and West geography with 13 plant locations in the states of Maine, Oregon (2), Idaho, West Virginia, Virginia, Wisconsin (3), New Hampshire, New York (2), and Pennsylvania.

Brett Jordan, CEO of Lignetics stated, "Completing this acquisition is a significant step in continuing to execute our strategy to expand our geographic footprint in the U.S. and remain the market leader in the residential wood pellet industry." Jordan added, "New England Wood Pellet has long been the leader in the New England market with strategically located manufacturing plants and strong customer relationships managed by a very talented team, whose goal is to continue to provide a superior product and excellent customer service."

New England Wood Pellet is being sold by the parent company Rentech Inc. Mark Wilson, New England Wood Pellet's CEO, has agreed to provide consulting services through a transition to ensure a seamless experience for New England Wood Pellets customers, suppliers, and employees.

Read Full Article

British Power Producer Drax Beats Earnings Expectations, Sales Jump 

British power producer Drax Group Plc beat full-year core earnings expectations on Tuesday, sending its shares up by as much as 9 percent.

Drax has converted three of its six power plant units in Yorkshire in the north of England - once Europe's most polluting coal-fired power station - to burn wood pellets.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose 63.6 percent to 229 million pounds ($319.87 million) for the year ended Dec. 31, the company said.

That topped the 225.4 million pounds expected by analysts, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue grew by about 25 percent to 3.69 billion pounds, helped by higher profit from its biomass power plants and the acquisition of Opus Energy.

Drax shares rose as much as 9 percent in early trade and were up 7 percent at 255 pence by 0812 GMT.

Read Full Article

Drax's New Chief Says Big Power Plants Remain Key 
Financial Times

Britain still requires large-scale power plants to ensure the country's energy system has adequate back-up supplies at times of peak demand, according to the new chief executive of Drax, the power company.

The latest auction for back-up electricity generating capacity earlier this month ended with contracts awarded at prices well below those required to incentivise construction of new large-scale gas power plants. The results have sparked debate about the need for such plants at a time when renewable energy is on the increase. But Will Gardiner, Drax chief executive, said "my view is the system needs large-scale generation and flexible generation". 

Drax, which has spent the past few years converting half of its six generating units to burn wood pellets instead of coal, said it would continue to develop four new open cycle gas turbine units. Two of these will enter the next capacity market auction at the end of this year. The group is also looking to convert its remaining two coal units to combined-cycle gas turbine units as the UK works towards a deadline of 2025 to phase out coal-power generation.

The development of these plants "would be supported by 15-year capacity market contracts, providing a clear investment signal and extending visibility of contract-based earnings out to the late 2030s", said Drax in its results statement.

Read Full Article


Pellet Fuels Institute

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