The number of homes in New Hampshire using wood for heat has more than doubled over the last decade, from 3.8 percent in 2005 to 8.6 percent in 2013.
Much of that increase comes from wood pellets. Pellets have advantages over cord-wood – they are less work and burn more cleanly – and are cheaper than fuel oil or propane.
But the fuel’s rapid growth has meant the pellet industry has earned a few black-eyes from the occasional shortage, and manufacturers and retailers are struggling to figure out how to smooth out their supply chain.
Thanks to a $250,000 dollar federal grant a new group is working to promote the burning of wood for heating in high-efficiency boilers in the Granite state
The New Hampshire Wood Energy Council consists of nearly fifty biomass supporters from state agencies, non-profit organizations, and industry representatives. Those representatives will serve as ambassadors for using wood-pellet and wood-chip boilers.
Those big stacks of wood pellets typically seen each fall in the parking lots of big box stores aren’t so easy to find right now. And, that’s posing a challenge for people like Andy Langlois of Berlin.
He heats with pellets and has become a hunter-gatherer.
“I had to start calling around as well as just stopping by places just to see if anybody has them and then how many they have,” he said.
Around the state stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot are often coming up short, spokeswomen for the companies acknowledged.