March 2018 Newsletter

Biomass heat for energy and power is important to the Midwest.  But, is biomass for thermal energy being left out of the conversation and simply being left behind?  Register now for this year’s HTM Conference & Expo!
This year’s Heating the Midwest Conference and Expo will ask how the current base of support for biomass thermal energy might be expanded to generate not only increased policy momentum, but also overall familiarity with its operational, economic and societal benefits. HTM’s 2018 event will be held May 1-3 at the Black Bear Resort ,Carlton, Minnesota. Heating the Midwest brings together forestry, forest products manufacturing, agriculture, and energy professionals together to hear about the sector’s recent successes and discuss how they might catalyze further growth in the sector.
The upper Midwest is rich in both agricultural and forest biomass streams and both sectors generate significant economic activity across the region and the utilization. To ensure that the value of these resources are maintained, their utilization as a renewable thermal energy source must be both preserved and expanded. This year’s Heating the Midwest agenda is shaping up to closely examine each.
Featured Panel Conversations Include:
  • Message and Messenger: Rethinking How Biomass Thermal Takes Itself to Market
  • How Biomass Thermal Continues to Escape the Attention of Clean Energy Champions in the Upper Midwest
  • Roll Call: Ensuring that Everyone who Benefits from a Strong Biomass Thermal Energy Industry is on the Team
  • The Perfect Fit: Examining Biomass Thermal Projects that Work in Spite of Challenging Market Conditions
  • Feast or Famine: Assessing the Current Inventory of Available Biomass Inventories in the Upper Midwest
  • The Effort to Push Biomass Heat into New Applications Underway in the Upper Midwest
To make sure biomass thermal stays in the conversation for renewable energy, please register now to join this year’s attendees.  Sponsor opportunities are also available.
Sincerely,
Brian Brashaw, Conference Co-chair
Bruno Zagar, Conference Co-chair

In This Newsletter:

  • Biomass Appliance Manufacturers Take Center Stage at MN Capitol
  • EPA Chief Signals Push To Declare Wood Energy Carbon-Neutral
  • EIA Revises Short-term Bioenergy, Residential Wood Heat Forecasts
  • Letter Urges Reauthorization of Energy Title in Next Farm Bill
  • Pellet Stoves and Solar Panels: the Perfect Match
  • 2018 Wood Stove Design Challenge
  • World Sustainable Energy Days 2018
  • 2018 International Biomass Conference
  • National Funding Opportunities
  • Minnesota Funding Opportunities
  • LinkedIn
  • Free Publications
  • Ideas for SWET
  • Become an Action Team Volunteer
  • Call for news

 Biomass Appliance Manufacturers Take Center Stage at the MN Capitol

Homeowners who make the switch to clean, high-efficiency biomass heating appliances could be getting a tax credit – if a bill introduced in the Minnesota House of Representatives is passed this legislative session. On Tuesday, March 6, HF917received a hearing in the MN House Job Growth and Energy Affordability Policy and Finance Committee. The bill, chief authored by Rep. Debra Kiel (R-Crookston), would provide a 33 percent refundable tax credit on the purchase price of residential biomass heating systems up to $5,000. If passed, the tax credit would be available for purchases beginning January 1, 2019 running through December 31, 2023. The bill was passed out of the House Committee and was referred to the House Taxes Committee as a next step. A companion bill, SF728 , chief authored by Sen. Mark Johnson (R-East Grand Forks), has also been heard in the Senate Taxes Committee. Industry representatives had this to say about the bills:
“Advanced wood heating systems provide a clean, reliable, and efficient source of heat but are not yet mainstream,” said Dennis Brazier, the CEO of Central Boiler. “This bill would make it easier for Minnesotans to access these innovative technologies, many of which are produced right here in the state by manufacturing companies like ours.”
“For thousands of Minnesota households, especially those located in Greater Minnesota, biomass thermal energy offers an opportunity to reduce their energy costs using a local and renewable resource,” said Chuck Gagner, president of Northwest Manufacturing. “The tax credit would help accelerate the deployment of biomass thermal technologies while keeping our energy dollars local and stimulating needed markets for biomass in the state.”
“Expanding the use of biomass thermal in Minnesota would further diversify our energy economy, provide an affordable and renewable heating option for consumers, and stimulate the creation of jobs throughout the state’s biomass heating supply chain,” said Gregg Mast, Executive Director of Clean Energy Economy Minnesota.

EPA Chief Signals Push To Declare Wood Energy Carbon-Neutral on N.H. Visit

During his New Hampshire visit Tuesday, February 13, Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt signaled plans for new federal energy policies that could bolster a struggling regional industry – biomass.
Read the full story here .

EIA revises short-term bioenergy, residential wood heat forecasts

The U.S. Energy Information Administration has released the March edition of its Short-Term Energy Outlook, predicting that non-hydropower renewables will provide 10 percent of U.S. electricity generation in 2018 and nearly 11 percent in 2019, up from less than 10 percent in 2017.
Wood biomass is expected to be used to generate 120,000 MWh per day of electricity this year, increasing to 121,000 MWh per day next year. Waste biomass is expected to be used to generate 59,000 MWh per day of electricity this year, increasing to 60,000 MWh per day next year.
Read the full story here .

Letter Urges Reauthorization of Energy Title in next Farm Bill

On March 6, a group of more than 200 companies and trade associations sent a letter to House and Senate Agricultural Committee leaders urging them to reauthorize and fund energy title programs in the next Farm Bill.
Within the letter, the groups ask the committees to reauthorize the energy title programs and maintain stable mandatory levels. “It is essential that a healthy, robust bipartisan energy title continue as part of new comprehensive agriculture legislation,” they wrote. “We also strongly recommend common sense improvements to make these programs even more valuable in impacting a broader array of technologies.”
According to the letter, Farm Bill energy title programs have greatly assisted rural America in developing clean, renewable energy, biobased products, and making energy efficiency investments. As a result of these program, rural economic development, jobs, manufacturing, and environmental quality have all seen quantifiable and substantial gains.
Read the full story here .

Pellet Stoves and Solar Panels: the Perfect Match?

Pellet stoves are one of the cheapest ways to reduce a home’s carbon footprint. A perfect complement to solar panels, they could be pitched as part of a package for homes. But states need to start promoting them, as they do solar panels.
Solar panels are the way of the future for millions of U.S. homes. But they aren’t sized to carry the heating load of most houses in the country. A pellet stove can easily provide 50 to 90 percent of the heating needs for millions of American homes with an installed price of $3,000 to $5,000.
Read the full story here .

2018 Wood Stove Design Challenge

Fourth Wood Stove Competition to focus on automation and electricity generation
The Alliance for Green Heat is planning the fourth Wood Stove Design Challenge on the National Mall in Washington, DC from November 9 – 14, 2018.
The 2018 event will be free and open to the public and includes rigorous testing of the next generation of technology that can make wood stoves consistently cleaner, more efficient, easier to use and, like solar energy, a renewable source of electricity.
Read the full story here .

World Sustainable Energy Days 2018

The European Pellet Conference, the largest annual pellet event worldwide, took place 28 February – 1 March 2018 in Wels/Austria as part of the World Sustainable Energy Days (WSED). Read more about the conference here .
The World Sustainable Energy Days (WSED), one of Europe’s largest annual conferences in this field, offered a unique combination of events on sustainable energy. More than 600 experts from 66 countries attended the World Sustainable Energy Days, and visited the conferences, site visits and tradeshow. Read more about the World Sustainable Energy Days here .


2018 International Biomass Conference

Organized by BBI International and produced by Biomass Magazine, this event brings current and future producers of bioenergy and biobased products together with waste generators, energy crop growers, municipal leaders, utility executives, technology providers, equipment manufacturers, project developers, investors and policy makers. It’s a true one-stop shop – the world’s premier educational and networking junction for all biomass industries.
View event details here .

National Funding Opportunities

USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program  (REAP) grant can cover 25% of project costs and a project can begin after an application has been submitted. Applications are due April 1, 2018 for projects of any size. REAP grants are competitive (1 in 4 applicants awarded).
USDA’s Guaranteed Loan  provides up to 75% of project costs and is not competitive.
DOE: No-cost technical assistance. The DOE Office of Indian Energy provides federally recognized Indian tribes with technical assistance to advance tribal energy projects at no cost.

Minnesota Funding Opportunities

MDA Biomass Thermal Energy Incentive Program . This is a production-based incentive and pays out based on heat generated by mostly Minnesota-sourced biomass.
MDA’s Livestock Investment Grant  covers 10% of a project’s eligible costs. The application period is September through December.
Additional details available  here .
MDA AGRI Value Added Grant Program . This program supports Minnesota agricultural producers and processors to increase sales of Minnesota agricultural products by expanding markets. Grants are for equipment purchases or physical improvements and are intended to support businesses. Additional details available at:https://www.mda.state.mn.us/grants/grants/valueaddedgrant.aspx

HTM has joined LinkedIn, Facebook & Twitter

Heating the Midwest Incorporated has created a LinkedIn page and also a Facebook page. Follow the page to stay up to date with what we’re working on! Also follow us on Twitter.
Click here to follow us on LinkedIn
Click here to follow us on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter @HTM_BiomassHeat

Free Publications

Biomass Magazine and Pellet Mill Magazine are free to subscribers in the USA. Here’s link to sign up and there is also free e-newsletters, free webinars and more:
BTEC Newsletter : If you are interested in receiving the Biomass Thermal Energy Council’s weekly biomass newsletter and other news releases, you are encouraged to sign-up at:  http://biomassthermal.org/mailingForm.asp

Have Biomass Project Ideas for SWET?

Michigan Statewide Wood Energy Team
Contact: Ray Miller- rmiller@anr.msu.edu
Minnesota Statewide Wood Energy Team
Contact: Kristen Bergstrand-  Kristen.Bergstrand@state.mn.us
Wisconsin Statewide Wood Energy Team
Contact: Olivia Shanahan – PSC –  Olivia.Shanahan@wisconsin.gov

Heating the Midwest- Become an Action Team Volunteer!

If you have a specific area of interest related to biomass thermal, we welcome your participation in one or all of HTM’s three action teams-Biomass Combustion Technologies, Biomass Policy & Benefits, and Biomass Resources & Demographics. Is your time often stretched? No problem. Time committed to the HTM effort is volunteer time. Joint action team calls are held monthly via conference call, and calls are limited to one hour in respect of members’ time and busy schedules. Members may choose to volunteer more of their time individually to support Action Team specific projects as they arise.
Individuals with a passion for biomass thermal energy are being sought to lead the Biomass Resources & Demographics Action Team or the Biomass Combustion Technologies Action Team. This is a great opportunity to share your leadership skills in furthering the mission of HTM and to directly connect with the biomass industry sector and other agencies—all with a goal of growing market opportunities for biomass and specifically for biomass as a fuel for thermal heating and cooling, and combined heat and power.
The work of the action teams involves developing “boots on the ground” projects for spurring action, discussing industry challenges in each sector and how to possibly address, networking and supporting the overall goals and vision of the Heating the Midwest with Renewable Biomass initiative in an effort to grow demand and expand marketing opportunities in the biomass thermal sector, and create awareness of biomass thermal. Until further notice, the call schedule for the HTM Joint Action Team calls is:
  >> Meets third Tuesday of each month at 1:30 p.m. CST <<
For more detailed information on the Biomass Combustion Technologies Action Team or the Biomass Resources & Demographics Action Team, please contact Becky Philipp (bphilipp@auri.org ) or via phone at (218) 280-8575; and for the Biomass Policy & Benefits Action Team, please contact Gregg Mast ( Gregg_Mast@earthtechenergy.com )

Call for Your Midwest Biomass Stories and Events for April Newsletter

As you’ve seen month after month; companies, governments, and communities around the Midwest are making progress on biomass heating and combined heat and power (CHP) programs and projects. If you have a story or event to contribute for next month, please submit by close of business the 3rd Wednesday of the month to kloeffler@heatingthemidwest.org . And, if you’d like to be on the list to receive upcoming newsletters, please contact Kelsey Loeffler at kloeffler@heatingthemidwest.org