The Story of the Year

By Luke Geiver | December 21, 2012

The New Year is approaching which means one thing: it’s time to look back. To do that, I did a little data mining in our magazine’s extensive archive of online biomass stories. The result of the informal research effort reveals an interesting and positive trend that will hopefully continue in the coming year.

The search premise used included all online stories based on plant announcements that indicated a proposed or planned facility, an update or confirmation that a facility had commenced construction or continued the project development process, or, that a facility had begun operating.  The following story titles illustrate those that qualified, ranging from, “Zeachem completes construction of Ore. biorefinery,” to “Pellet plant breaks ground in Virginia, brings economic growth,” or even, “FlexEnergy to build landfill-gas-to-energy plant in California.”

In 2011, roughly 21 percent of all stories that met the search parameters (proposed/planned plant announcements; plants/facilities under development; plants/facilities completed or operating) were about plants that had either been completed or had begun operating.

In 2012, that number was much higher. Roughly 44 percent of all stories that met the search parameters in 2012 were about plants or facilities that had either completed construction or had begun operating. Of course, our library of stories will never be able to provide a complete, 100 percent overview of the industries we cover, but our archives can certainly get close to indicating basic trends. Because of that, the New Year should continue to be another year with a robust proportion of stories generated to announce a completed project or a plant opening.

And don’t worry, the pipeline of new projects either under development or planned, is still strong. In 2012, roughly 43 percent of all stories that met the search parameters in this exercise were about proposed or planned project announcements. Again, this may not be exact science or the whole story, but it is a positive general clue to the health of the industry heading into 2013.