Canadian Biomass Magazine

News Pellets
Pinnacle responds to COVID-19, does not expect demand for pellets to be impacted


March 20, 2020
By Pinnacle Renewable Energy

Topics
Pinnacle CEO Rob McCurdy (left) shakes hands with the president of NYK Bulk and Projects Carriers, Moyoyuki Nose, after signing a long-term charter in Vancouver on Jan. 16, 2020. Photo by Adam Kveton.

Pinnacle Renewable Energy yesterday advised that the company is responding in order to minimize the risks from the COVID-19 health threat to its employees, stakeholders, and communities in which it operates. To date, there have been no known or suspected cases of COVID-19 reported at the company, and office-based employees are working at home. CEO Rob McCurdy, having previously announced his retirement effective May 5, 2020, is now committed to remain with Pinnacle through this crisis until Oct. 31, 2020.

Currently, operations at all of Pinnacle’s facilities remain unimpacted and our employees are focused on work safety while adjusting to the recommended COVID-19 practices, including social distancing, thorough hand washing, avoiding close contact with others, and regular cleaning and disinfecting of objects and surfaces. These practices have also been enforced for fibre deliveries and other visitors to all Pinnacle facilities.

Capital projects at the High Level and Demopolis facilities are continuing under the expected precautions for COVID-19, and while the Williams Lake facility continues to operate with the current dryer in place, the dryer upgrade project has been put on hold until equipment vendors can be onsite for commissioning purposes without any restrictions.

From an economic perspective, Pinnacle does not expect demand for pellets to be impacted as the company has long-term take or pay contracts with its customers in place, and in the event power consumption declines, it is expected that use of other non-renewable fuels will be reduced ahead of any reduction in wood pellet use. However, in the event of a possible recession due to the COVID-19 health threat, demand for lumber could be reduced, thereby impacting the supply of sawmill residual fibre. In this case, Pinnacle has a strategy in place for use of harvest residuals and increased inventories that it has been utilizing as a result of sawmill curtailments experienced in B.C.

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“Pinnacle’s management team continues to monitor the situation around the COVID-19 health threat and the potential impacts to the business, our employees and communities,” stated Rob McCurdy, CEO of Pinnacle. “We are currently in a solid operational position and have strong liquidity, and I am appreciative of the resilient team we have at Pinnacle. We are aware that the situation is fluid and further developments could impact facility operations due to reduced fibre availability in the event a sawmill is closed, additional costs and impacts related to logistics, and the possibility of facility shut-downs. Our management team is working diligently to mitigate these potential impacts.”