Pinnacle signs 15-year wood pellet deal with Japan

B.C.-based wood pellet manufacturer Pinnacle Renewable Energy has signed a 15-year agreement to ship wood pellets to Japan for thermal power production.

Pinnacle, which has eight wood pellet manufacturing plants in Western Canada and one in the U.S., announced a deal in October, 2019 with Mitsui & Co. in Japan to supply 100,000 tonnes of wood pellets annually. The pellets, which are made from wood waste, are burned to produce power as an alternative to coal.

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More recently, the company announced it had inked a deal with NYK Bulk & Projects Carriers to transport wood pellets to various ports in Japan via a new bulk carrier named New Pinnacle.

"This is a very exciting moment," former B.C. Jobs, Trade and Technology Minister Bruce Ralston - who was shuffled this week to Energy and Mines - said at a signing ceremony January 16 in Japan.

"Not only will the contract being signed today... provide clean energy fuel for Japan, but it also signals a strong future for B.C.'s forest products and the role Pinnacle Renewable Energy will play in providing sustainable energy solutions for the world."

"In addition to developing great relations, great partners and great friends, this agreement signifies the importance of a growing Japanese market for reliable, stable, renewable energies," Pinnacle CEO Rob McCurdy said in a press release.

Under the deal, NYK Bulk will transport wood pellets from B.C. ports to Japan on its new bulk carrier, the New Pinnacle. The new carrier will begin shipping up to 33,000 tonnes of wood pellets next year, starting in January 2021, making an average of six trips per year.

Pinnacle operates wood pellet manufacturing plants in Quesnel, Williams Lake, Houston, Hixon, Armstrong, Lavington and Burns Lake. The plants make wood pellets from wood waste from B.C. sawmills. Pinnacle has export terminals in Prince Rupert and Vancouver.

Since the announcement of the deal with Mitsui, Pinnacle's shares have steadily climbed from a low of $6.13 per share in mid-October to $10.52 per share.

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