Pellets Look Promising
The theme for the December issue of Biomass Power & Thermal is 2012 Industry Outlook. Maybe it’s because I’ve been immersed in a sea of wood pellets and have been pumped full of information about their growth potential in the global energy markets, but for whatever reason, all I could think about when developing coverage concepts was the promising outlook I see for 2012 in the wood pellet industry.
And boy, is it promising. In the emerging Korean market, pellet demand in 2012 is expected to almost double 2011 figures. Demand in all of Asia is expected to increase, with limited domestic capacity to produce, forcing a steep incline in pellet imports. So ready the sails and man the rigging…I don’t really know what that means but it’s ship-related.
Most of us know I haven’t even mentioned the largest opportunity for global pellet consumption. Europe has the best-known and most rapidly growing demand for pellets, as many of its individual countries scramble to meet their own renewables goals (many in the face of quick and calculated transitions away from nuclear power) and those set by the European Union. It’s getting a little crazy out there, but opportunistic insanity is my favorite kind of insanity.
As if we needed more proof or validation of pellet industry opportunity, the USDA recently announced more than 160 companies to which it will award payments, some of them huge, in order to further enhance and expand the country’s biofuel production and use. A good portion of those are pellet companies such as Enviva LP and Appling County Pellets, a Fram Renewable Fuels subsidiary in Georgia.
But the list doesn’t just include pellet plants that supply foreign markets. New England Wood Pellet LLC will get a cut of the funding, as will Frank Pellet LLC, Pacific Pellet LLC, and Maine Woods Pellet Co. LLC, along with a number of others. Check out the list here.
This new money in recognition of the pellet industry’s contribution to the biofuels sector is yet another good sign of the industry’s exciting outlook and opportunity. I can’t wait to see what 2012 brings.