The U.S. Forest Service recently announced the award of nearly $4 million in grants for wood energy projects around the country to help expand regional economies and create new jobs. The grants, totaling $3.9 million, will be distributed to 20 small businesses, tribes and community groups to develop renewable energy projects.
The projects will use woody material such as beetle-killed trees removed from forests to aid in wildfire prevention. The material will then 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.
“The Forest Service works in more than 7,000 communities across the country to support projects that provide green jobs and boost local economies,” said USDA Deputy Under Secretary Butch Blazer. “These grants continue our legacy of improving access to affordable energy for rural schools, community centers, universities and small businesses.”
These biomass utilization grants build on President Obama’s strong record of supporting rural economies through the White House Rural Council. Established one year ago, the Rural Council has focused on maximizing the impact of federal investment to promote economic prosperity and improve the quality of life in rural communities.
The grant program helps applicants complete the necessary design work needed to secure public or private investment for construction. 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.
Examples of the 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.
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.