Final Report Regarding Northern Minnesota Biomass Energy Opportunities Published

Insights into community-driven sustainable bioenergy


(Mpls, MN) – Dovetail Partners, an environmental think-tank based in Minneapolis, has published a report regarding biomass energy opportunities, focusing on case-studies in the northern Minnesotan city of Ely and Cook County/Grand Marais. The report details findings from a collaborative biomass feasibility study that consisted of investigating biomass energy options, impacts and trade-offs for the two communities.


The final report, Community-Driven Biomass Energy Opportunities: A Northern Minnesota Case Study, describes the two communities’ interest in using timber harvest residuals, sub-merchantable timber, and waste wood to heat homes, businesses, and government buildings, in either stand alone or district energy systems. The case studies provide insights into developing and implementing bioenergy facilities and address the topics of wood supply, technological options and financial feasibilities, emissions, environmental impacts, and supply chain opportunities and hurdles. Several alternatives were investigated that can aid other communities interested in bioenergy facilities.


“The study team investigated numerous configurations – from large district heating or combined heat and power to small systems for individual homes or businesses,” said Cheryl Miller, Project Manager. “Different bioenergy technologies and wood sources produce a range of trade-offs and benefits that businesses and communities may want to look at when considering their options.”


The report also details the project’s focus on involving community members throughout the process and the resulting benefits. “The project took a unique approach to imagining diverse bioenergy systems and what it means to pursue community-driven sustainable bioenergy,” says Kathryn Fernholz, Executive Director of Dovetail Partners.


Project funding was provided by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR), the Cook County Board of Commissioners, and the USFS Wood Education and Resource Center. The Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund is a permanent fund constitutionally established by the citizens of Minnesota to assist in the protection, conservation, preservation, and enhancement of the state’s air, water, land, fish, wildlife, and other natural resources.


To download the full report, visit:


Additional project background information can be found here:




About Dovetail Partners

Dovetail Partners provides authoritative information about the impacts and trade-offs of environmental decisions, including consumption choices, land use, and policy alternatives. Dovetail is a highly skilled team that fosters sustainability and responsible behaviors by collaborating to develop unique concepts, systems, models and programs. Dovetail Partners is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation.