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Phone: (608) 231-9200
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USDA Forest Service Awards Nearly $4 Million for Renewable Wood Energy Projects

Federal grants support the development of clean renewable energy, help reduce the risk of wildfire, improve forest health and provide economic opportunities to rural communities.

Contact: Rebecca Wallace
Distributed July 26th, 2012
NR # 20120726
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MADISON, Wis. - July 26, 2012 -- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the award of nearly $4 million in grants to 20 small businesses and community groups to develop wood-to-energy projects that require engineering services. These projects will help expand regional economies and create new jobs.

"Woody biomass is a vital part of America's clean energy future as we work to decrease our dependence on foreign oil," said Vilsack. "Projects like these will help grow regional economies, create new jobs, and improve and protect our forests. We will need architects and engineers to design these plants, skilled laborers to build them and well-trained technicians to operate them."

The projects will use woody material such as beetle-killed trees removed from forests to aid in wildfire prevention.The material will be processed in bioenergy facilities to produce green energy for heating and electricity. The awardees will use funds from the Woody Biomass Utilization Grant program to secure the engineering services necessary for final design, permitting and cost analysis.

Examples of projects include the engineering design of a woody biomass boiler for steam at a sawmill, a non-pressurized hot water system for a hospital or school, and a biomass-power generation facility. The grant program helps applicants complete the necessary design work needed to secure public or private investment for construction.
25 megawatt biomass power plant located in downtown St. Paul, MN.
The Forest Service Woody Biomass Utilization grant program has been in effect since 2005 and has provided more than $36 million toward various projects, ranging from biomass boilers for schools and prisons, to helping businesses acquire equipment that improves processing efficiencies. During this time period, over 150 grants have been awarded to small businesses, non-profits, tribes and local state agencies to improve forest health, while creating jobs, green energy and healthy communities.

Last year the program funded 17 projects and five of those projects are already moving to the construction step of implementation. The others are finalizing their design and permits and are pursuing financing. The construction phase projects include:
  • Restarting a 6 MW plant in Anderson, CA.
  • Installing a 2.5 megawatt combined heat and power plant in northwest Montana
  • Installing a wood heating system for 3 local government buildings in Vernonia, Ore.
  • Installing a drying system to increase the amount of wood used for energy production at a paper mill in Kaukauna, Wis.
  • Installing a small combined heat and power system that uses urban forest wood residues at a recreation center in Long Island, N.Y.

One boiler system heating three schools.
The Forest Service selected 20 small businesses and community groups as grant recipients for these awards in 2012. According to the requirements, all 20 recipients provided at least 20 percent of the total project cost. Non-federal matching funds total nearly $8 million.

The Forest Service's State and Private Forestry, Technology Marketing Unit, at the agency's Forest Products Laboratory in Madison, Wis., administers the grant program. The recipients were chosen from 34 applications.

The following are the 2012 woody biomass utilization grantees:

California Department of Forestry, Sacramento, California$124,875
City of Montpelier, Montpelier, Vermont$248,556
City of Nulato, Nulato, Alaska$40,420
Clearwater Soil and Water Conservation District, Orofino, Idaho$110,000
Coquille Economic Development Corporation, North Bend, Oregon$145,000
County of Sullivan New Hampshire, Newport, New Hampshire$250,000
Evergreen Clean Energy, Gypsum Colorado$250,000
F.H. Stoltze Land and Lumber Company, Columbia Falls, Montana$250,000
Greenway Renewable Power LLC LaGrange, Georgia$250,000
Longwood University, Farmville, Virginia$250,000
Mineral Community Hospital, Superior Montana$190,000
Nippon Paper Industries USA Co. Ltd, Port Angeles, Washington$250,000
Oregon Military Department, Salem, Oregon$250,000
Plumas Rural Services, Quincy, California$70,125
Port Angeles Hardwood LLC Port Angeles, Washington$250,000
Quinault Indian Nation, Taholah, Washington$205,000
Riley County Schools, Riley, Kansas$90,000
Sanpete Valley Clean Energy LLC, Salem, Utah$250,000
Southern Oregon University, Ashland, Oregon $250,000
Yosemite/Sequoia Resource Conservation and Development Council, North Fork, California$134,225

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202-720-6382 (TDD).