Real Pellet Progress is Seen at the Ports

By Luke Geiver | December 04, 2012

To understand the state of the North American pellet production and export industry, forget about hypothetical demand and supply reports or predictive analysis based on future policy changes in Europe. Look at the activity happening on the east coast and the west coast at locations in Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia or British Columbia.

Each location offers proof that the pellet industry is expanding and putting investment dollars to work to ensure that as production capacity grows along with a global demand, the ability to offload that product is possible. To understand the large-scale pellet production and supply industry, look no further than the time spent, money invested, work completed or general activity happening at the ports featuring pellet handling capabilities.

In just the last six months we’ve covered, looked into or learned about several pellet export facilities up and down the east coast. The majority of those port projects are under construction or in the early stages of a retrofit. Some are being developed strictly for use by a particular bioenergy company while others will offer all regionally-linked producers an export opportunity. And, along with those confirmed projects, every week seems to feature a new city, economic development agency or port authority that has held meetings to discuss the possibility of building or operating a pellet handling and export facility in that entity’s respective region.

Anyone in the large-scale pellet production industry welcomes the latest report or policy update that indicates biobased pellets will soon become a major energy source on a global scale. But, there are places in British Columbia or Virginia, where we can see that the industry is at the beginning of a booming cycle and that developers aren’t waiting around for a report or policy change to start the build out.