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Local pellet producers getting ready to cash in on demanding market


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Deer Lake - Newfoundland and Labrador is expected to see several wood pellet production operations starting up over the next year.

The products produced will roll out into what has become an exploding market space - currently straining with a lack of supply.

The Pellet Fuels Institute, a non-profit association for the North American pellet industry, lists 10 producers for certified pellet fuel in Canada. Of those, only two are located in the Atlantic provinces: Marwood Ltd. of Fredericton, N.B., and Shaw Resources of Shubenacadie, N.S.

Marwood Ltd. produces Comfy Cozy Premium wood pellets that are supplied to retailers in this province. Industrial sales co-ordinator Melanie Moore said that as "one of the smaller pellet producers," Marwood produces approximately 10,000 tonnes of pellets per year, operating the production year-round.

That isn't enough to meet the demand in the Atlantic region.

"We have increased production with the hopes of catching up to the high consumer demand, however, even with the extra shifts we haven't been able to do so yet. As soon as a truck load of pellets is produced, it is being transported to a store in Atlantic Canada," Moore said.

"Consumer demand this year is higher than I have ever seen it before in my five years of doing this job. I believe part of the reason was the fact that when the price of home heating fuel went so high that a lot of consumers researched other means to heat their homes and pellets seem to be the product of choice in doing so."

Shaw Resources, producing Eastern Embers Wood Pellets, is also running at a sprint pace in an effort to meet demand. "The current demand is greater than the current supply," states a page on the company website. The site also offers tips for pellet stove owners on how to conserve the pellets they currently have.

This is the market that Newfoundland and Labrador pellet producers will enter into when their production lines begin operating - a start that is coming soon, according to Natural Resources Minister Kathy Dunderdale.

"We have two companies in the process of getting their pellet production up and running and other companies in different stages of development when it comes to entering into wood pellet production," she said. "Once these companies are up and running, we will have enough production to meet local demand."

Even so, it will likely be next winter before Newfoundland pellet products are widely available.

For now, pellet stove users are encouraged to contact their local retailers to determine availability of their fuel. It has been arriving from off-island producers as shipments are available.

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