PFI conference predicts growth
Presentations at the annual Pellet Fuels Institute conference held in July show that the outlook for the industry is still positive, both domestically and internationally. Daniel Saloni, assistant professor in forestry at North Carolina State University, pointed out that both aggressive and conservative economic models for the pellet industry are predicting growth.
Although U.S. pellet stove sales dropped when natural gas prices nosedived over the past couple of years, Seth Walker, an associate economist with RISI Inc. estimated the U.S. currently has approximately 845,000 pellet stoves installed. According to Walker, an additional 50,000 to 60,000 stoves are expected to be added annually over the next several years.
While the EU power market has gotten much attention, the heating market comprises 40 percent of the EU pellet market, with no subsidy required. “Pellets are 30 percent cheaper than heating oil,” said Gordon Murray, executive director of the Wood Pellet Association of Canada.
“The consumer market in the EU has grown into a very stable market,” added Arnold Dale with Sweden-based Ekman & Co. “It is no longer seasonal. People prefer to buy pellets in the summer months.”