Based in Kremmling, the biggest wood pellet plant west of the Mississippi is making good use of all those dead trees on the local hillsides. Confluence Energy uses Colorado’s beetle-kill trees to create a local, renewable fuel source. Wood pellets burn cleaner than cordwood, emitting 75 percent less particulates than a regularly-fueled wood-fired furnace or stove. Plus, they’re carbon neutral—the carbon emitted during use is no more than what would have been emitted had the dead lodgepoles been left to rot on the forest floor. According to company president and founder, Mark Mathis, Confluence will harvest, process and convert into fuel about a million dead or diseased trees per year from public and private land. www.confluenceenergy.com.