Podcast Preview with Scott Bax, Peak Renewables

Scott Bax, CEO at Peak Renewables, was the guest on Season 1, Episode 9 of the Biomass Magazine/Pellet Mill Magazine podcast.
By Pellet MIll Magazine | November 29, 2022

Scott Bax, CEO at Peak Renewables, was the guest on Season 1, Episode 9 of the Biomass Magazine/Pellet Mill Magazine podcast. Most recent to joining Peak Renewables, Bax served as chief operating officer at Pinnacle Renewable Energy (now Drax), where he grew the business threefold, to over 2.5 million metric tons of annual wood pellet production. Bax exudes passion for sustainable forestry, the environment and giving back, and he gave us all the details about Peak’s business model and developing projects.

PMM: Tell us a little about your background.  
Bax: Early on in my life, I had the opportunity to work in the forest products industry, and during those experiences, it became clear that I wanted to channel my passion for trees into a career. That led me to the University of Alberta, where I got my master’s in business administration and master’s in forestry. From that point forward, I focused on trying to work in as many aspects of the forest industry as possible. So, over the next two decades, I worked in areas from reforestation and forest management to harvesting, to continuous improvement and consulting in the forest products industry, for sawmills and value-added products, and then finally to wood pellets. Those opportunities had me working and living both across Canada and the U.S., and I’m incredibly grateful for them.

PMM: You’re at Peak Renewables now. Can you give our listeners a high-level rundown of what your company is all about?
Bax: Fundamentally, Peak is a renewables company focused on partnering with other companies, organizations and indigenous groups, to make sustainable, renewable products that reduce the carbon footprint of today through the utilization of marginalized trees, forest and mill residuals, as well as other biomass that would typically go to waste. Today, we’re working on various projects including industrial pellets, black pellets, biocoal, biochemicals, as well as carbon sequestration and hydrogen. We have a very broad sphere of potential products, with a number of projects in the que. And we have been very fortunate that we have a chairman and individual who is an exceptionally visionary leader, by the name of Brian Fehr. Brian spent many decades effectively revolutionizing the sawmill industry with his company, the BID Group, which he sold a number of years ago. In that transition, he started a new series of companies with a vision of making a difference—reinvesting in communities, and partnering with First Nations and likeminded organizations trying to make the world a better place. That vison inspired me and brought me to Peak, and really, it’s an exciting time to grow an organization …

PMM: You have been in the wood pellet business for a decade. What are a couple of key takeaways
 for someone considering starting a new company?
Bax: That’s a great question. I would have to say … one is that you don’t know what you don’t know. Wood pellet production, by many standards, is a young industry—decades younger than the internet … Collectively, we’re still evolving. I would say that industry experts are rare, and there have been many good companies that have failed. So engage and partner with organizations and people in ways that can ultimately reduce your risk. Another takeaway is…

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Interested in being a guest?
Contact Danielle Piekarski at [email protected]