What a Show

By Anna Simet | April 12, 2013

I got back from the International Biomass Conference & Expo late yesterday (a little bit of a flight delay due to the unseasonable, unwanted wintry weather rolling into Minneapolis), and this morning, I’m reflecting on what an amazing show it was.

Talking with one of my colleagues who helped put together the very first IBCE in 2008—which was also Minneapolis—we agreed that it’s truly amazing what it has turned into in just five years. Those of you who have traveled with us to Minneapolis twice, as well as Portland, St. Louis, and Denver, know what I mean. It’s so great to see familiar faces and catch up each year, and it’s also been great to finally meet people with whom I’ve been corresponding with for the longest time via phone and email, and make new friends, too.

One of the highlights of the show (for me) was the general session round table, during which our industry heads discussed what they’ve been up to the past year, future goals, policy, industry inhibitors, etc. In the five years I’ve been in the business, I’ve never seen the different biomass segments—thermal, power, advanced biofuels, etc.—working with such camaraderie.  If we’re going to get what the biomass industry wants and needs, that’s the way it’s going to happen.

And of course, our industry awards were another highlight. Charlie Niebling of New England Wood Pellet won the Excellence in Bioenergy Award, and I’ve heard it out of many, many mouths (including my own) that he deserves it. His contributions to the biomass thermal industry are numerous, and his dedication unwavering. Our other award, Groundbreaker of the Year, went to Dominion Virginia Power for converting three coal-fired plants to biomass. Hopefully the awards got through airport security without much of a problem (some serious hardware we’re talking about here).

The discussion, at some points was very intense, particularly in the breakout sessions (for example, when delving into the carbon accounting equation). I love it when that happens, because that’s when you learn new things and are able to absorb different viewpoints, sometimes which may alter your own.

While some were in a hurry to beat the weather rolling in and were forced to pass, those of you who were able to join us for the Edge of the Wilderness event know that it was so worth sticking around for. How awesome was that band? My personal favorite was when they played “Wagon Wheel.” The facility was beautiful, and the food and company was great. But it went by much too quickly.

On that note, I better get back to my overflowing inbox. Thank you so much to all for being a part of IBCE 2013, and we’ll see you next year in Orlando.