November 4, 2016

In this Week's Pellet Wire:

Government Affairs Update

As the election season draws to a close, we are turning our legislative focus to the next Congressional work period. Scheduled for three weeks in November and December, this is the final session of the 114th Congress and of the Obama Administration, also known as the "Lame Duck" session.

Just before Congress left town in September, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell indicated in several interviews that energy tax provisions would receive consideration in the Lame Duck. We are hopeful that an opportunity presents itself similar to that which occurred at the conclusion of 2015, where an omnibus-or a series of "minibus"-spending bills comes together in the Lame Duck that provides a vehicle for addressing tax priorities. For us, those would include extension of the Sec. 25C wood and pellet stove credit as well as enactment of the Biomass Thermal Utilization Act provisions that would qualify high efficient biomass thermal equipment for the residential and commercial/industrial investment tax credits under Sections 25D and 48 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) have been, and will continue to be, pivotal to our success on enactment of BTU Act language. To that end, a meeting with Senator Collins occurred in Maine to impress upon her the urgency of the situation and ask her to continue to make the case aggressively with Republican leadership in the Senate. In addition, we are preparing a letter to House and Senate leadership to urge action on our tax priorities when they return.

USDA Announces $7 Million in Wood Energy Grants

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced its 2017 Wood Innovations Grants, with up to $7 million available for qualifying wood energy and wood products projects.

Grants are available to organizations with the goals of expanding wood energy or wood products markets, with the following prioritized objectives:

  • Reduce hazardous fuels and improve forest health on National Forest System and other forest lands. 
  • Reduce costs of forest management on all land types.
  • Promote economic and environmental health of communities.

"Growing markets for wood products and wood energy create new uses for diseased wood that otherwise would be hazardous fuel in our nation's forests, where we are experiencing increasingly longer and more intense wildfire seasons. By getting this wood out of the forests and putting it to use as building material or a renewable energy source, we are able to sustain the health of our forests and maintain their capacity to store carbon," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "Already, USDA has invested nearly $1 billion into 240 projects to uncover innovative new uses for wood, and our Tall Wood Building Prize Competition is proving that multi-story buildings made of wood can be a reality in major U.S. cities. This new round of funding will no doubt inspire additional opportunities for the benefit of our forests and climate."

The proposal submission deadline is January 23, 2017. Visit the U.S.D.A. website for more information on how to apply.

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 at [email protected] with information on your company's growth, job openings, promotions or other news. 

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March 3, 2017: PFI Breakfast & Biomass

July 23-25, 2017: PFI Annual Conference

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Fuel Availability

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Industry News

Editorial: Recognize the Benefits of Biomass
Bend Bulletin

Biomass energy does not get the kind of love lavished on other renewables, such as wind or solar. Biomass is more complicated, but that does not mean Congress should allow the federal government to discourage a renewable, domestically produced source of energy.

Read the Full Article

USDA Helps Vermont Businesses Make Energy Investments
Vermont Business Magazine
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) provided capital support to 17 Vermont businesses transitioning to renewable or energy efficient technologies to cut costs and reduce energy consumption this year. Vermont farms and small businesses used more than $3 million in grants and loan guarantees through USDA Rural Development's Rural Energy for America Program (REAP).

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Bioenergy Byproduct to Soil Savior
Biomass Magazine
Greg Stangl is a power guy. Self-proclaimed and readily apparent to others, that title has been earned by the CEO of Phoenix Energy after a decade-plus of developing and building small-scale biomass electricity projects. While there may be hundreds of companies working in the smaller-scale bioenergy project space, Stangl has something that most of them don't: biochar. And, he knows how to use it.

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Report Documents Economic Benefits of New Hampshire Wood Heating
Biomass Magazine
The NH Wood Energy Council, a not-for-profit public education and outreach organization, recently released a report documenting the economic and environmental benefits of heating community, commercial and institutional buildings with modern wood chip and pellet technology.

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Pellet Fuels Institute |  [email protected]   | 206.209.5277