Markets for wood biomass are emerging from a winter that just wouldn't quit in the northern reaches of North America. Even into April, reports of snow were common. Consequently, heating demand was higher than a year ago, giving energy and pellet producers an extended season.
Suppliers generally benefitted from the late cold, as ground conditions remained favorable for logging and hauling two to three weeks beyond normal institution of road restrictions and sloppy woodland issues. Now, of course, the worry is that spring "break-up" will run long and cause supply headaches in May and June.
Spring lumber demand, which is still pent up due to protracted cold, is expected to provide a more ample flow of residuals for biomass and pellet use. On the biomass side, the residuals are particularly attractive as they are less costly than in-woods chips and grindings.
For wood pellet manufacturers, the winter was stellar, and sources in the realm reported spring demand very strong as those who were left short of stove fuel this season are preparing for next. That said, pellet sales are beginning to taper off with the onset of warm weather.
This is an excerpt from a story that appeared in RISI’s Wood Biomass Market Report (WBMR). WBMR covers biomass projects as well as market news and prices for North America and Europe. Click here for more information or to subscribe.