Federal biofuel credit could help jump-start sales of stoves, boilers and even pellet-fuel BBQs
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY —A new Colorado-based company is hoping to jumpstart the commercial market for beetle-killed wood with a network of stores selling eco-friendly pellet-fueled heating appliances, and a federal tax credit could help.
New Earth Pellets Depot last week opened its first retail location in Lakewood, selling heating stoves, furnaces and boilers, as well as unique items like pellet BBQ grills and beetle kill furniture. A sidebar blurb on the company’s well-organized website points out that Uncle Sam is offering to pay you back for nearly a third of your purchase price and installation costs for a wood pellet stove or insert — but only through Dec. 31, 2010. Get info on the tax credit here.
Since New Earth Pellets only sells EPA-certified stoves that qualify for the federal biomass tax credit, it’s about as easy as getting a charitable donations statement from the “Clean Heat Fairy,” the company claims.
CEO Rosalie Bianco said she hopes to inspire a wood pellet revolution that will help sustain local markets for biofuel. That could be a critical factor in finding the money to pay for needed forest treatments. Ongoing logging and thinning will be needed in parts of Colorado to maintain forest health without the threat of dangerous wildfires. Along with selling products, the stores will help educate consumers about forest health and biofuels.
“Public awareness of the financial and ecological benefits of switching to pellet fuel is key to shifting the nation’s energy paradigms to greener more local fuel sources. New Earth Pellets is making a commitment to partner with local communities to facilitate this change,” Bianco said.
While there is a larger debate over the carbon benefits of burning wood fuel, the small-scale local approach makes intuitive sense, and New Earth Pellets leaders said there’s science to show that a single pellet stove offsets more carbon than than two hybrid cars.
In a release, the company said:
- “In partnership with its sister company, Environmental Energy Partners, New Earth Pellets has created a biomass community model that includes the opening of several small local pellet mills. The mills use local beetle-kill trees from remediation and sustainable thinning projects. Smart management of these pellet mills will insure local customers will have a steady supply of pellets at a fair price. New Earth Pellets are made from a local product that will be sold to a local market.
- “New Earth Pellets are made from damaged lodge pole pine trees from the Pine Beetle devastation in Colorado. In the future, New Earth Pellets will be made from trees that are part of the forest management thinning programs, which will help maintain a healthier balance in our forests.”
The company hopes to open a web of retail and distribution centers, which will support home delivery of fuel.