New Year, New Decade

It’s a new year, and the future is bright for the North American wood pellet industry. This is true for both the domestic and export industry segements.
By Anna Simet | January 24, 2020

It’s a new year, and the future is bright for the North American wood pellet industry. If I had to choose one thing to say about this issue, it’s that it exudes optimism and opportunity—for both the domestic and export industry segments.

On domestic production, Tim Portz, executive director of the Pellet Fuels Institute, writes in his column on page 8 about the “banner year” the industry had last year. At the outset of 2019, carryover inventories in most regions were nearly nonexistent and forecast demand was high, Portz says, adding that with another strong year underway, “it would be hard to argue that the residential wood pellet industry has ever been healthier.”

Now, producers are devising strategies to meet growing demand, and the best way to do this may be working with appliance retailers and manufacturers to plan future production and manage inventory. That collaboration is the topic of my page-16 feature, “The Other Parts of the Equation.” For the story, I interviewed a specialty hearth retailer and pellet stove manufacturer about their ideas on how to collaborate to grow the industry. From shared incentives to supporting each other—the industry’s true stakeholders—Adam Martin, owner of Martin Sales and Service, and John Shimek, senior vice president of appliance sales at Hearth & Home Technologies, shared many of the same viewpoints. About that reciprocated support of all segments of the market, Martin says, “Everyone wins—we all make money, and at the end of the day, customers are taken care of.”

Moving on to the industrial pellet sector, make sure to check out “Sailing into Japan: Wood Pellet Demand in a Changing Energy Market,”on page 22. The piece, written by Annette Bossler of FutureMetrics, provides an overview of policy changes in Japan and how they are leading to huge demand for imported wood pellets. The country’s feed-in tariff for biomass power has created a substantial dedicated biomass power project pipeline of 2.8 gigawatts of capacity to be commissioned in 2020 and beyond, on top of the 1.5 GW of dedicated biomass power capacity already operating. Bossler writes that, as a result of this increasing demand, Japan will need to develop efficient infrastructure and logistics, especially for pellet import and storage.

In summary, opportunities abound for wood pellet manufacturers, and in Pellet Mill Magazine’s 10th year of production, we look forward to bringing you another year of exclusive and valuable data, insight and information.

Author: Anna Simet