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EIA begins monthly reporting of wood pellet data

EIA begins monthly reporting of wood pellet data | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it
The U.S. Energy Information Administration has published the initial results of a new survey launched in January 2016 to gather information on wood pellets and other densified biomass production, sales and inventory.

The survey gathers data from operating pellet plants in the U.S. Facilities with an annual capacity of 10,000 or more tons report data monthly, while smaller facilities file annual reports.

According to the EIA, it conducted the first survey of densified biomass fuel manufacturers in January, with data collected from 119 facilities. Fourteen of those facilities were planned or under construction, and expected to begin operating within one year. Seventeen of the facilities had capacity of less than 10,000 tons per year, and are not required to complete the EIA’s monthly survey. The remaining facilities reported their production and sales data for January 2016.

The data shows the U.S. currently has 11.52 million metric tons of existing pellet production capacity, with an additional 2.74 million metric tons planned or under construction.
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How Europe’s climate policies led to more U.S. trees being cut down

How Europe’s climate policies led to more U.S. trees being cut down | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it
For the sake of a greener Europe, thousands of American trees are falling each month in the forests outside this cotton-country town.

Every morning, logging crews go to work in densely wooded bottomlands along the Roanoke River, clearing out every tree and shrub down to the bare dirt. Each day, dozens of trucks haul freshly cut oaks and poplars to a nearby factory where the wood is converted into small pellets, to be used as fuel in European power plants.

Soaring demand for this woody fuel has led to the construction of more than two dozen pellet factories in the Southeast in the past decade, along with special port facilities in Virginia and Georgia where mountains of pellets are loaded onto Europe-bound freighters. European officials promote the trade as part of the fight against climate change. Burning “biomass” from trees instead of coal, they say, means fewer greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

But that claim is increasingly coming under challenge. A number of independent experts and scientific studies — including a new analysis released Tuesday — are casting doubt on a key argument used to justify the cutting of Southern forests to make fuel. In reality, these scientists say, Europe’s appetite for wood pellets could lead to more carbon pollution for decades to come, while also putting some of the East Coast’s most productive wildlife habitats at risk.

“From the point of view of what’s coming out of the smokestack, wood is worse than coal,” said William H. Schlesinger, the former dean of Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences and one of nearly 100 scientists to sign a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency last year asking for stricter guidelines on using biomass to generate electric power. “You release a lot of carbon in a short period of time, and it takes decades to pull that carbon back out of the atmosphere.”
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Investment in Thermogen Industries’ wood pellet plant withdrawn

Investment in Thermogen Industries’ wood pellet plant withdrawn | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

A local investment company has withdrawn its $20 million anticipated investment in Thermogen Industries, the startup planning to build a wood pellet plant at the site of the former Great Northern Paper mill in Millinocket.


CEI Capital Management, a for-profit subsidiary of Brunswick-based Coastal Enterprises Inc., confirmed Monday that it will withhold $20 million it planned to invest in Thermogen as part of the Maine New Markets Capital Investment tax credit program. The company also announced it would withhold an additional undisclosed amount of investment in Thermogen as part of the federal New Markets Tax Credit program.


The news is the latest blow for Thermogen’s efforts to finance its $140 million wood pellet project, which it claims could provide 55 direct jobs in Millinocket. In April, it lost $9 million in state-backed financing when the Finance Authority of Maine’s board voted to reduce the amount of a bond it would sell on Thermogen’s behalf from $25 million to $16 million. The board determined that a change in production technology was substantive enough to require a new vote.

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The triple crown of biomass

The triple crown of biomass | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

It is easy to harp on government and their inadequacies, but let’s face it, the biomass industry exists in the capacity that is does because of supportive government policies. The industrial pellet sector in the southeastern U.S. exists because of Europe’s climate change policies, which incentivize replacing coal with wood pellets. Yet, despite its importance, policy is not the only factor that enables and boosts growth in the biomass industry. Available feedstock and energy infrastructure, along with policy, form the backbone for growth and innovation in the biomass industry. This week’s DataPoints briefly looks at what I’m calling the “triple crown of biomass” and its regional implications. Without any one of the three components (policy, feedstock, and infrastructure), a biomass project will never be successful.


In the southeastern U.S., the swift rise of the industrial pellet export industry is due to the convergence of policy in Europe, numerous years of deferred harvest in southeastern forests, and an existing port infrastructure along the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic.

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The southeastern U.S. forest industry has had a number of pulp and paper plants close in recent decades, which has led to a decline in demand and lower stumpage fees across southeastern forests compared to other regions in the U.S. While stumpage fees for pulp wood in Mississippi were around $9 a ton in the 4th quarter of 2013, an equivalent amount of pulp wood in Maine sold for roughly double during the same time period. The higher stumpage fee in the Northeast discourages bioenergy development on the scale needed for industrial pellet export development. Instead, the biomass industry in the Northeast primarily utilizes mill residue for local biomass power generation and premium pellet production.

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Despite the Northeast and the Southeast both having a strong port infrastructure, the cost of feedstock in the Northeast along with regionally supportive policy encourages local consumption of biomass rather than exporting it to a different region. 

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A Giant Step for Pellet Capacity

A Giant Step for Pellet Capacity | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

More than 4 million metric tons of new wood pellet production capacity are currently under construction throughout North America, over 3 million tons of which are scheduled to come on line this year, and 600,000 tons by spring. Such capacity growth is unprecedented in the North American pellet industry, which is comprised of some 160 facilities, with a total installed capacity of around 13 million metric tons. Not only will the capacity added this year grow the industry’s output  by nearly 25 percent in just one year, but facilities scheduled to come on line in 2015 will bring the two-year expansion closer to 33 percent.

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The vast majority of under-construction capacity is represented by producers already engaged in pellet production. ––Fram Renewable Fuel LLC, Enviva LP, German Pellets GmbH, Drax Biomass, and Zilkha Biomass Energy––developers who are engaging in follow-up efforts to add to their existing capacities. Still, there are plants under construction that represent a company’s first production effort. Vulcan Renewables, with an initial planned capacity of nearly 150,000 metric tons, is Vulcan’s first facility. 

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The funnel of pellet production projects under development but not yet under active construction numbered as high as 27 facilities with more than 7 million tons early last year. As the industry continues to grow, however, questions about the resiliency of this marketplace momentum are beginning to surface. The required volume from U.K.-based power producers is significant, but the risk of having demand tied up in one or two planned facilities is already apparent. In December, the conversion of the massive Eggborough Power Station, which would have created another infusion of Drax-like demand, was omitted from a list of projects deemed provisionally affordable. Stakeholders are already working to get the Eggborough conversion back on track, but demand volatility of this sort is certain to impact the development of projects not yet underway. Eggborough’s fate will have little bearing on the production class of 2014, however, and regardless of demand trajectory at the year’s conclusion, it will go down as a year of unprecedented expansion in the biomass industry’s hottest sector.

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Cate Street changes ‘whole nature’ of Millinocket pellet plant proposal

Cate Street changes ‘whole nature’ of Millinocket pellet plant proposal | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

A New Hampshire investment company has changed the “whole nature” of its proposal to build New England’s first torrefied wood facility at the former Great Northern Paper Co. mill, leaving unclear the status of the $25 million state bond backing the project, officials said Thursday.


Cate Street Capital’s plans now call for replacing the $70 million microwave torrefaction plant with a $140 million steam-thermal plant like those built in Crockett, Texas, and Selma, Ala. The new plant would employ 50 people instead of 35 and more than triple the amount of pellets created and tree wastes used annually, Cate Street spokesman Scott Tranchemontagne said. Torrefied wood pellets are described as a renewable substitute for coal.

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Wood Pellet Developments and the Relevance to U.S. Timberland Investments

Wood Pellet Developments and the Relevance to U.S. Timberland Investments | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

Wood bioenergy markets interest forestland owners and timberland investors for a simple reason: potential returns on capital. Higher demand for pulpwood and other lower-valued forest residues can strengthen prices and increase returns to landowners for any investments made in their forests. However, the reality is that new wood bioenergy markets are small relative to traditional forest industry demand, and they are incredibly localized based on specific and primarily pellet-producing facilities.

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Pellet plants in the U.S. today have two primary markets: domestic U.S. home heating and European industrial markets for electricity and cogeneration. While a surge of proposed domestic projects occurred in 2009 and 2010 to take advantage of pellet use from increased petroleum prices, most recent investments have supported pellet plants intent on exporting to the EU, especially the U.K. These projects are larger than their domestic counterparts, consuming hundreds of thousands to over one million tons of wood per year, versus the typical fifty to two hundred thousand tons per year for domestic plants.

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Wood pellet projects represent one sub-sector within the overall wood bioenergy market. There are 122 pellet plants operating in the United States, 10 plants under construction, and 47 in the planning stages. Regionally, the North leads the U.S. with the most pellet plants operating, while the South leads in growth with 11.6 million tons of pellet production capacity in development.

 

While more than 800,000 U.S. homes use wood pellets for heat, global wood pellet markets are growing largely in response to EU renewable energy mandates. Pellet production globally increased from 8 million metric tons per year in 2007 to more than 15 million metric tons in 2010. Currently, Europe consumes most of this production. In 2012, European consumption of wood pellets was 14 million metric tons alone. The European Union estimates that the EU will consume 17 million metric tons in 2014 (EU Biofuels Annual 2013).

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The data specific to pellet plant announcements and development in the U.S. tell a story of two market strategies. The U.S. domestic market for pellets relies primarily on smaller producers who rely on low cost manufacturing residuals.This strategy complements the U.S. forest products sector, and has an immaterial influence on timberland investments. The pellet export market from the U.S. has encouraged investment in larger scale facilities that, by necessity, focus on procuring traditional pulpwood roundwood. This strategy competes with traditional pulpwood users while providing a growth market in key local markets in the U.S. Southeast for timberland owners. Overall, however, large-scale pellet sector success remains hinged to EU policies and, in the near term, realized demand from U.K. power plants. Within the overall forest products industry, wood pellets represent a niche opportunity reliant on specific, critical factors associated with logistics and the economics of pulpwood and residuals.


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North American wood pellet exports reached new record in Q1

North American wood pellet exports reached new record in Q1 | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

North American wood pellet exports reached a new record of over 1 million tons in the first quarter of 2013, according to the North American Wood Fiber Review. There has been a steady growth in shipments from both the U.S. and Canada the past few years, mainly as a result of the continued increase in demand for pellets in the United Kingdom.


Pellet exports from the two primary pellet-producing regions on the North American continent – the U.S. South and British Columbia – showed no signs of slowing in early 2013, with the rate of growth likely to accelerate in the second half of the year. In the U.S. South, pellet export volumes to Europe resumed their double-digit growth after a brief pause in the fourth quarter of 2012. Export volumes, based on information from industry sources as well as trade data in Europe and North America, showed exports in excess of 1.7 million tons in 2012, as reported in the North American Wood Fiber Review.

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North American Pellet Exports Booming

North American Pellet Exports Booming | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

Pellet exports from the two primary pellet-producing regions on the North American continent – the US South and British Columbia – showed no signs of slowing in early 2013, with the rate of growth likely to accelerate in the second half of the year. In the US South, pellet export volumes to Europe resumed their double-digit growth after a brief pause in the 4Q/12. Export volumes, based on information from industry sources as well as trade data in Europe and North America, showed exports in excess of 1.7 million tons in 2012, as reported in the North American Wood Fiber Review (www.woodprices.com).


Canadian exports also rose in 2012 to 1.5 million tons, but this increase was less than that seen in the US. During the 1Q/13, total pellet exports from North America reached a new record of over one million tons for the quarter. This can be compared to the annual shipments of 750,000 tons just four years ago.


The United Kingdom continues to strengthen its claim as the primary destination for North American pellets with over two-thirds of the export volume from the US and Canada going to the UK in the 1Q/13.

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Exportation of wood pellets from North America to Europe reached a new record

Exportation of wood pellets from North America to Europe reached a new record | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

The wood pellet export industry in North America has grown exponentially in a relatively short period of time. The export value has increased from an estimated 40 million dollars in 2004 to almost 400 million dollars in 2012. This fairly new trade development is the result of Europe’s quest to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels and to reduce CO2 emissions. Energy generation from renewable resources has, with varying pace, gone up in all countries in the EU the past decade.


Woody biomass, including wood pellets, is one energy source that has attracted both much attention and investments in a number of countries on the European continent. With limited domestic wood raw-material sources, countries such as the UK, Belgium and the Netherlands have increasingly relied on the importation of industrial wood pellets to reduce the usage of coal at some of their power utilities. The relatively high costs for wood pellets in Europe have resulted in increased interest in importing pellets from British Columbia and the southern states of the US where wood raw-material costs are lower than in Europe.


A record volume of 3.2 million tons of pellets was exported from North America to Europe in 2012, according to the North American Wood Fiber Review (www.woodprices.com), which compiles and publishes pellet trade volumes based on surveys of pellet exporters and customs data in North America and Europe, each quarter. From the US South, shipments were up over hundred percent compared to 2011, while Canadian exports increased 25 percent year-over-year.

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German Pellets plans second giant wood pellet plant in U.S.

German Pellets plans second giant wood pellet plant in U.S. | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

Just as it is readying to opening a 500,000-metric ton wood pellet production facility in Woodville, Texas, German Pellets announced that it plans to build an additional 1 million-metric ton plant in Louisiana, with construction slated to begin this month.


The plant will be located in the central Louisiana town of Urania, which has a population of about 1,300. German Pellets expects the new plant to create around 500 direct and indirect jobs in the region.

Much of the facility’s infrastructure is already in place—including a railway siding—as it is the former site of a Georgia Pacific fiber/particleboard plant that closed over a decade ago.

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South Korea, Japan to become large importers of pellets and energy chips, reports the Wood Resource Quarterly

South Korea, Japan to become large importers of pellets and energy chips, reports the Wood Resource Quarterly | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

The governments in Japan and South Korea have announced definite plans to increase their usage of green and low carbon energy alternatives.


South Korea is taking steps to reduce its dependence on imported fossil fuels and instead invest in domestic renewable energy technology, including wind, solar, hydropower, and biomass. The long-term plan is to increase the renewable energy share from less than four percent in 2011 to 6.1 percent in 2020, and then to 11.5 percent in 2030.


As part of this effort the government has initiated a program, which has included building eight new pellet plants, as well as exploring opportunities to import large volumes of pellets in the future. The goal is to consume five million tons of pellets by 2020, a huge increase from the less than a few hundred thousand tons used in 2011.

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Japan is another Asian country expected to increase importation of energy chips and wood pellets, due in part to the nuclear power plant accident in Fukushima last year. Following the disaster, the Japanese government decided to close down all nuclear plants, at least temporarily.

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In the future, Japan will increasingly rely on renewable energy sources, with biomass likely to be one important supply source. Up until this year, Japan has imported only very limited volumes of wood pellet, primarily from Canada, but it is likely that import volumes of both pellets and energy chips will increase in the coming years.

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Wood pellet exporters gain advantage from new supply model

Wood pellet exporters gain advantage from new supply model | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

As pellet exporters ramp up in the South (soon to be consuming 10 million tons per year of wood), strategic fiber sourcing should accrue to their advantage over traditional pulp and paper competitors.

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Long avoided by pulp and paper, new elements being rolled out among pellet players include guaranteed, long-term volume orders to loggers and timber owners, as well as binding commitments sufficient for bankrolling efficient but expensive harvesting crews.

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The EU is the world’s largest wood pellet market

The EU is the world’s largest wood pellet market | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

A report recently published by the USDA Foreign Agriculture Service’s Global Agricultural Information Network provides an overview of the European Union’s biofuel, wood pellet market and biogas production. Without any doubts, the EU is the world’s largest wood pellet market.

 

While the EU produces about fifty percent of world production, EU demand represents about 75 percent of the market. Therefore, the EU is the world’s largest wood pellet market, with approximately 20.5 million metric tons of pellets consumed in 2015, with approximately 65 percent of that volume used for heat and 35 percent for power. It is expected that demand for pellets will increase up to 22.5 million metric tons in 2017.

 

Residential use for heating is a relatively stable market compared to industrial use for power generation. About 60 percent of the pellet demand is estimated to be for household use. However, the past three winters have been relatively mild and coupled with the low prices for fossil inputs, has tempered the use of pellets for residential heating. Medium-size use of pellets for energy use by industries or public buildings such as hospitals and swimming pools is generally less dependent on weather conditions.
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Despite their significant domestic production, the Scandinavian countries, mainly Denmark and Sweden, partly depend on imports from the Baltic Region and Russia. The port restrictions in Scandinavia are favoring the Baltic Sea supply, which generally ship with smaller vessels than used in the Atlantic trade. In Denmark, one plant is located at a deep seaport and is supplied from North America. Improved flexibility in the infrastructure is expected to further increase the sourcing from North America. The market for pellets in Germany, Austria and lesser extent France and Italy is more isolated and depends mostly on the production in this region itself. Since 2008, EU demand for pellets has significantly outpaced domestic production.

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Can bioenergy replace coal?

Can bioenergy replace coal? | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

Like all renewable energy in the European Union, bioenergy has struggled against low-priced coal imports, low carbon dioxide prices in the emissions-trading system, and an economic and regulatory backlash against renewable-energy policies, including substantial cuts in government support. But don’t count out biomass-based energy just yet. Although today it fails to compete on cost with other renewables such as wind and solar, we believe bioenergy not only has the potential to significantly improve but could even become cost competitive with coal.

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How can that happen? We believe the levelized cost of bioenergy—its cost per kilowatt-hour—has the potential to be reduced by almost half by 2025, making bio-based electricity close to competitive with coal depending on the type of plant. While there’s no denying this would require significant effort, it doesn’t require technological breakthroughs but rather simply making better use of the opportunities already at hand.

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County vote could pave the way for new Drax pellet plant in S.C.

County vote could pave the way for new Drax pellet plant in S.C. | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

Drax Biomass, a wholly owned U.S. subsidiary of Drax Group plc, may elect to develop a new pellet plant in Abbeville County, South Carolina. The county recently passed an ordinance that would allow the company an option to purchase a 119 acre tract of land.


According to information released by the county, the proposed pellet manufacturing plant would be located approximately three miles from Calhoun Falls, a town on the western boarder of South Carolina roughly 60 miles northwest of Augusta, Georgia.

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In February, Dorothy Thompson, chief executive of Drax, indicated her company was pursuing options to develop up to 2 million tons of additional pellet capacity, primarily in the U.S. 

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Wood pellet exports from North America to Europe have doubled in two years to reach 4.7 million tons

Wood pellet exports from North America to Europe have doubled in two years to reach 4.7 million tons | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

North American shipments of wood pellets over the Atlantic continued to go up in the 2Q/13 with volumes more than double those in the 2Q/11, according to data compiled by the North American Wood Fiber Review. Shipments to the major consumer in Europe, the United Kingdom, are likely to decline in the coming year because of the closure of a major biomass plant in the UK.


Pellet export volumes from North America to Europe continued to rise during the 2Q/13, representing steady growth for the past seven quarters, according to data compiled by WRI and reported in the North American Wood Fiber Review (NAWFR). In that period of time, volumes exported to Europe have more than doubled, from just over 500,000 tons in the 3Q/11 to over 1.1 million tons in the 2Q/13 (Note. The most current trade data is available to subscribers of the NAWFR).

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Jacob Crowell's curator insight, October 15, 2014 1:21 PM

North America has doubled its wood pellet exports to Europe over the last two years due to the closure of a major biomass plant in the UK. This article shows how globalization can greatly effect areas in two totally different parts of the globe. Because the UK i the major consumer of wood pellets in the World, North American companies were able to fill their need after the UK plant closed. Businesses are incredibly impacted my change across the globe. If a plant in the UK closes, the production of a plant in the North America increases. The demand doesn't change and because globalization makes transportation cost low, the price does not change drastically when production occurs thousands of miles away.

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Former Abitibi timber rights sold to California company

Former Abitibi timber rights sold to California company | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

A company from California has won the harvesting rights to a large wood supply in central Newfoundland that once belonged to Abitibi-Bowater.


CBC News has learned that Rentech now has ownership of the 280,000 cubic metres of wood that once belonged to the former newsprint producer, which shut down its Grand Falls-Windsor mill in early 2009

Rentech, mainly a fertilizer company in the U.S., is looking into producing wood pellets in Canada.


The company has access to a large wood resource in Ontario, and also owns two wood pellet plants in that province.


In November, the company purchased in idled mill in Wawa, Ont. to convert it into a pellet production facility. It has yet to produce any pellets, but the company said it does have customers.

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Incentive could attract pellet producer to Adirondacks, officials say

Incentive could attract pellet producer to Adirondacks, officials say | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

An initiative Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed to encourage conversion of oil heating systems to wood fuel could help attract a Vermont-based wood pellet manufacturer looking to expand in the Adirondacks, said state Sen. Elizabeth Little.


If successful, the plant would create new jobs and support the existing forestry industry by establishing a new market for low-grade wood that otherwise might not be saleable.

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Plum Creek and The Enova Group Enter into Contracts for Wood Fiber Supply through Long-Term Fiber Services Agreement

Plum Creek and The Enova Group Enter into Contracts for Wood Fiber Supply through Long-Term Fiber Services Agreement | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

Plum Creek Timber Company, Inc., (NYSE: PCL) today announced it has entered into a 10-year fiber supply and services agreement with The Enova Group, an independent bioenergy firm headquartered in Atlanta, Ga.


Plum Creek will deliver up to 3 million tons annually of sustainably-managed wood fiber to three pellet manufacturing locations that will be constructed in the Southeastern United States. Approximately 500,000 tons will originate from Plum Creek's timberlands with the remaining 2.5 million tons to be sourced and delivered from third party landowners.


Enova will construct mills to convert wood fiber into pellets to serve global biomass markets. Pellet shipments are expected to begin in 2015.


"This agreement highlights the value of the consistent and reliable supply chain services that Plum Creek provides to our wood fiber customers," said Rick Holley, chief executive officer. "Plum Creek looks forward to working with Enova as it develops renewable energy projects in the Southeast. Further growth in bioenergy markets means cleaner energy, attractive returns for our investors and new jobs for those in the communities where we work and live."

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European climate policy drives wood pellet boom in NC

European climate policy drives wood pellet boom in NC | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

The wood pellet industry is enjoying a speedy, zero-to-60 growth surge across the southeastern United States. Hundreds of millions of dollars are being invested in factories – some of them converted from old lumber mills – in coastal plain forests from Virginia to Louisiana.


They are serving a market created, almost overnight, by paradoxical environmental policies that are driving European electric utilities to burn imported wood in their boilers instead of coal.

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Pellet export plans scaled back

Pellet export plans scaled back | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

Plans were recently scaled back for a wood pellet export facility at the state port here due to a reassessment of market conditions.But the project is still on, with a status update to be aired during a public meeting this week.


Meanwhile, State Ports Authority officials intent on expanding North Carolina’s forest products industry are also exploring an alternative plan to export entire logs via the N.C. Port of Morehead City...

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That plan, which had initial goals of attracting as many as three companies shipping as much as 400,000 metric tons of wood pellets per year for use as biofuel in power plants in Europe, is now targeting a single producer that would export about 285,000 metric tons per year.

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Plans presented to the public in October 2012 have since been scaled back, acting State Ports Authority CEO Jeff Miles said Thursday during the monthly meeting of the Morehead City Port Committee at the Channel Marker Restaurant in Atlantic Beach.


“Back in that point of time we might have had a bit of irrational exuberance about what the size of that market was going to look like and how near-term it was. Since late January, early February, we’ve gotten a little bit closer into that and started to challenge some of the market assumptions and what we’re finding is that there is a good opportunity there on a much smaller scale than what was originally conceived,” Mr. Miles said.


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Local timber helps meet world’s needs

Local timber helps meet world’s needs | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

The demand for wood pellets in Europe has gone up dramatically the past few years as power companies across the continent have switched from using fossil fuels to produce electricity to renewable energy alternatives.

According to a report from the North American Wood Fiber Review, exportation of wood pellets from North America to Europe reached a new record of 3.2 million tons in 2012, with U.S. exporters more than doubling their shipments.


Locally, Enviva Pellets – with one mill open in Ahoskie; another set to go online in Northampton County; and a third planned for Southampton County (VA) – is ramping up their operations to meet the increased demand for their product.


“Utilities around the world are increasingly turning to solid biomass fuels as a cost-effective means to deliver lasting reductions in the carbon intensity of energy generation,” said John Keppler, Chairman and CEO of Enviva. “As a key mid-stream supplier, Enviva and its growing capacity is positioned to sustainably source from one of the most robust natural resources in the United States the key renewable fuel for these growing international markets.”


Pellets shipped overseas from companies such as Enviva and others from North America increased over 60 percent from 2011 to 2012. The wood pellet export industry in North America has grown exponentially in a relatively short period of time. The export value has increased from an estimated 40 million dollars in 2004 to almost 400 million dollars in 2012. This fairly new trade development is the result of Europe’s quest to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels and to reduce CO2 emissions. Energy generation from renewable resources has, with varying pace, gone up in all countries in the European Union during the past decade.


Woody biomass, including wood pellets, is one energy source that has attracted both much attention and investments in a number of countries on the European continent. With limited domestic wood raw-material sources, countries such as the UK, Belgium and the Netherlands have increasingly relied on the importation of industrial wood pellets to reduce the usage of coal at some of their power utilities. The relatively high costs for wood pellets in Europe have resulted in increased interest in importing pellets from British Columbia and the southern states of the U.S. where wood raw-material costs are lower than in Europe.

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New reports: An understanding of the wood energy pellet sector

New reports: An understanding of the wood energy pellet sector | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

Wood energy pellets: love them or hate them. It all depends upon your perspective and understanding. That’s why the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (the Endowment) today released two new reports on the rapidly-growing wood energy pellet industry: “The Wood Pellet Value Chain: An economic analysis of the wood pellet supply chain from the Southeast United States to European Consumers,” and “Applying Pathways to Sustainability: A case study of how hypothetical bioenergy facilities in VA and GA can increase the sustainability of their supply chains.”

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Millinocket torrefied wood facility gets final DEP permit

Millinocket torrefied wood facility gets final DEP permit | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

New England’s first torrefied wood facility received its final Maine Department of Environmental Protection permit, clearing the way for construction of a $48 million facility, 25 full-time jobs and possibly the birth of a nationwide industry, officials said Thursday.


A type of microwaved wood pellet that burns as hot as coal without coal’s pollutants, torrefied wood burns about 30 percent hotter than typical wood pellets.

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