Minnesota's Statewide Wood Energy Team Launches Programs for 2014

 

Funds to be made available to support high efficiency wood energy systems

 

(St. Paul, MN) -  Minnesota has a new statewide team for supporting high efficiency wood energy systems.  The Minnesota Statewide Wood Energy Team includes diverse organizations and individuals with expertise to support effective use of wood energy technologies. With support from the USDA Forest Service, the team’s 2014 programs include making funds available to support businesses and other facilities that are interested in commercially available wood energy systems.

 

“Minnesota led the nation in 2007 with the development of sustainable woody biomass harvesting guidelines and we have invested in research at the University of Minnesota to ensure we balance new, renewable energy systems with natural resource protections,” said Anna Dirkswager, Biomass Coordinator for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and manager of the Statewide Wood Energy Team.

 

The team has been developed to help Minnesota facilities and businesses move toward realizing the opportunity to cut costs, support local economies, and advance clean energy development.

 

“Today’s wood energy technologies reduce energy costs while creating local jobs, mitigating wildfire risks, and providing renewable energy,” said Brian Brashaw, Program Director for the University of Minnesota Duluth, Natural Resources Research Institute and Statewide Wood Energy Team member.

 

The Minnesota Statewide Wood Energy Team is one of five being supported by the USDA Forest Service around the country.   The goal of the Minnesota team is to support commercially available wood energy systems that can provide economic, social, and environmental benefits to Minnesota’s businesses and communities.

 

“We are gearing up to help 20 sites in 2014 with preliminary evaluations and to assist two of those sites with detailed engineering or final feasibility studies,” said Lissa Pawlisch, Director of the Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) and member of the Statewide Wood Energy Team.

 

Details about the funding opportunities and application process are forthcoming.  Eligibility requirements will include commercial applications of modern wood energy technologies and project development beyond the initial feasibility investigations.  For further information, or to be added to the contact list to receive funding information when it becomes available, please contact:  Anna Dirkswager, 651-259-5253, Anna.Dirkswager@state.mn.us.

 

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About the Minnesota Statewide Wood Energy Team

The Minnesota Statewide Wood Energy Team consists of individuals and organizations that work together to advance woody biomass goals and recognize the need to promote woody biomass utilization as a strategy to accomplish: forest management, diversified markets for the existing forest products industry, forest wildfire risk reduction, economic development and localized wealth retention, and state renewable energy strategies.  The core team includes representation from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, University of Minnesota, University of Minnesota Duluth, Natural Resources Research Institute, and the USDA Forest Service Wood Education and Resource Center, the Clean Energy Resource Teams, Dovetail Partners, and the Headwaters and Arrowhead Regional Economic Development Commissions.   Additional partners include the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board, USDA Rural Development, Minnesota Forest Resources Council, Great Plains Institute, BioBusiness Alliance of Minnesota, FVB Energy, WoodMaster, Fond du Lac Band of Superior Chippewa, and the Agricultural Utilization and Research Institute. The project manager is Minnesota DNR Biomass Coordinator, Anna Dirkswager.