November 2018 Newsletter

Hello to all HTM supporters,

Winter is upon us, and so starts the long heating season in the Midwest. Whether you already use biomass as a heat source, or you are considering a wood burning appliance as a backup or primary heat source in your home, you should inspect your system. This will help you to enjoy these long cold months in comfort while staying safe and using your resources efficiently. Here are a few tips to make that possible.

1. Clear all combustibles from around your stove and flue.
a. It is recommended that all combustible materials should be at least three feet away from your appliance, to include the area around your flue pipe.
b. Make sure the flue pipe is adequately isolated from transferring heat to the ceiling or roofing materials.
c. A freestanding stove should have a noncombustible surface underneath.

2. Keep the inside of the flue pipe clear.
a. Clean out creosote buildup to prevent dangerous chimney fires.
b. Check the outlet for nesting materials or other blockages to prevent a backup of carbon monoxide or other combustion gases in your living space.

3. Verify the physical condition of your stove.
a. Check and repair cracks, bad door seals, and flue pipe connections.
b. Are inlet and outlet dampers in good working condition?
c. What is the condition of the lining inside your firebox?

4. Is your wood pile of adequate supply and quality for the season?
a. Wood should be properly seasoned to burn the most efficiently.
b. Keep wood stacked under overhead cover to protect from precipitation, and with good natural air circulation.
c. Split wood will dry easier, and burn more readily.

These are just a few of the things to think about to make sure you can enjoy the comfort that comes from renewable wood heat without worry. Enjoy your holidays everybody!

Stacy Cook
President – Koda Energy LLC
V.P. – HTM


In This Newsletter:

  • U.S.D.A. Forest Service Announces $8 million in Grant Funds
  • EIA Predicts Higher Winter Heating Costs for Most Energy Sources
  • Renewable Thermal Portfolio Standards Webinar
  • Biomass Industry Celebrates 6th Annual Bioenergy Day
  • EPA, USDA, DOE Send Letter to Congress on Biomass Neutrality
  • Koda Energy Bioenergy Day Event
  • Results of the 2018 Wood Stove Design Challenge
  • Industry Publications
  • National Funding Opportunities
  • Minnesota Funding Opportunities
  • LinkedIn
  • Free Publications
  • Ideas for SWET
  • Become an Action Team Volunteer
  • Call for news

U.S.D.A. Forest Service Announces $8 Million to Expand Wood Products and Wood Energy Markets in the US

The U.S.D.A. Forest Service invites grant applications for projects that expand wood product and wood energy markets, reduce wildfire risk, and improve forest health. Applications will be accepted through Jan. 23, 2019.
Grants provided through the agency’s Wood Innovations Program simultaneously boost local economies while helping make communities safer through the reduction of hazardous fuels on the landscape.
In 2019 the program will invest up to $8 million in projects designed to have a long-term impact on both Forest Service and other forest lands. Funding is available to support a diverse range of activities, such as completing the engineering designs, cost analyses, and permitting necessary in the final stages of commercial construction projects that use wood as a primary building material; establishing Statewide Wood Utilization Teams and Statewide Wood Energy Teams; and developing clusters of wood energy projects in a geographic area.
Read the full story here

EIA Predicts Higher Winter Heating Costs for Most Energy Sources

The U.S. Energy Information Administration has released the October edition of its Short-Term Energy Outlook and 2018-2019 Winter Fuels Outlook, predicting that average household bills for most energy sources of home heating will rise this winter due to higher forecast energy prices.
While temperatures are expected to be roughly the same as last winter in much of the country, the EIA expects prices for home heating oil to increase by 20 percent. The prices of other sources of heating are also expected to increase, with natural gas bills expected to be up 5 percent, and electricity to be up 3 percent. Expenditures for homes that use propane are expected to be about the same as last winter.
Regarding wood heating, the EIA notes approximately 2.1 million households, or 2 percent of U.S. households, currently use cord wood or wood pellets as a primary residential space-heating fuel. The EIA estimates another 8 percent of households use wood as a secondary source of heat, making wood second to electricity as a supplementary heating fuel.
Read the full story here

Renewable Thermal in RPSs: Examples from New Hampshire, Oregon and Vermont: Webinar

Although RPSs have historically focused on electricity generation, fourteen states now include renewable thermal power for heat generation. CESA has republished a report on how states across the country are incorporating renewable thermal technologies into their RPS programs, “Renewable Thermal in State Renewable Portfolio Standards” (available at https://www.cesa.org/resource-library/resource/ renewable-thermal-in-state-renewable-portfolio-standards). Additionally, CESA published a series of case studies, including New Hampshire’s leading, innovative thermal RPS program (available athttps://www.cesa.org/resource-library/resource/case-studies-of-rps-best-practices-solar-carve-outs-srec-tracking-and-thermal-inclusion ). In this webinar, report author Samantha Donalds will provide a broad overview of the issues involved in incorporating renewable thermal in state RPSs and will discuss trends among state RPSs. Then, guest speakers from New Hampshire, Oregon, and Vermont will discuss the inclusion of renewable thermal in their state’s RPS program. There will be time to address questions from the audience. Panelists: – Samantha Donalds, Clean Energy States Alliance – Karen Cramton, New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission – Deandra Perruccio, New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission – Rebecca Smith, Oregon Department of Energy – Andy Perchlik, Vermont Public Service Department – Val Stori, Clean Energy States Alliance (moderator) This webinar is presented by the Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA) for the RPS Collaborative. For more information and resources related to renewable portfolio standards, visit https://www.cesa.org/projects/renewable-portfolio-standards/
Webinar is being held Thursday, November 29th, from 12N – 1 p.m. (CST)
The link for additional details on how to register and about the RPS case study follow:

Biomass Industry Celebrates Sixth Annual Bioenergy Day

Bioenergy Day is an annual event when all involved in bioenergy—whether businesses, non-profits, government agencies or universities—recognize the economic and environmental contributions of bioenergy, a renewable energy source with many applications including power generation, heating, cooling and transportation fuels.
“Bioenergy Day would not be possible without the support of our partners and participants each year,” said Bob Cleaves, president and CEO of Biomass Power Association. “This year, we especially thank the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community for their generous contributions to our video, along with Heating the Midwest and the Rahr Corporation. The U.S. Forest Service has been a strong partner throughout the six years of Bioenergy Day.”
Read the full story here

EPA, USDA, DOE send Letter to Congress on Biomass Neutrality

On Nov. 1, leaders of the U.S. EPA, USDA and U.S. Department of Energy sent a letter Congress describing the agencies’ work to ensure consistent federal policy on forest biomass energy and promote policies that encourage the treatment of biomass as a carbon-neutral energy solution.
The letter, delivered to the House and Senate Committee on Appropriations, references the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018, or H.R. 1625, which was signed into law by President Trump on March 23. The law included congressional direction and emphasis on the importance of the U.S. forest sector to the energy needs of the country. In the letter, Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, and Energy Secretary Rick Perry confirm their agencies will work collaboratively to meet the directives laid out by H.R. 1625.
Read the full story here

Koda Energy – Bioenergy Day Event

Koda Energy held an Open House and Sustainability Expo to celebrate Bioenergy Day on October 24 th . Over three hundred guests attended the event from all walks of life, to learn about the benefits that bioenergy provides in the Midwest. Five tour guides worked non-stop during the event, bringing groups of people through tours of the Koda CHP facility and one of the malt houses at Rahr Malting. Approximately five hundred hamburgers were cooked on a Woodmaster pellet grill and fed to guests. ( a big thank you goes to Jill from Woodmaster for being the head chef in this effort! ) I would also like to thank the thirteen separate entities who presented information at their tables to help educate the attendees at the expo, they all did a tremendous job helping to spread awareness of the benefits of bioenergy and sustainability.

Results of the 2018 Wood Stove Design Challenge

Conducting rigorous and transparent field testing of thirteen stoves in five days is a feat that is unheard of in the wood stove community. The goals were also unique: fairly test stoves against one another with cordwood; help each team to improve their units and help educate a wider public about novel stove technologies that challenge how we think about the traditional, manually operated EPA certified wood stove.
The 2019 Wood Stove Design Challenge took place from Nov. 9-13, featuring 10 stoves in competition and 3 showcase stoves. The stoves were selected and judged by members of Organizing Committee. The Alliance for Green Heat (AGH) was the principal architect, organizer and host of the event. Each of the 10 competition stoves received a $10,000 grant made possible by the DOE’s Bioenergy Technology Office.
Read the full story here

Industry Publications

New Publication
Poultry-Barn-Heating-with-Wood-Energy
Recent Publications:
Other publications:

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 using 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 .
Energy Education at the Local Level Grant Program The Minnesota Department of Commerce State Energy Office has developed a small grants program to promote energy education at the local level. The program will award grants of up to $5,000 to carry out energy education initiatives. It is available to qualified applicants, either individuals or partnerships, who are educators (pre-K through grade 12) at schools, youth groups, educational programs, nonprofits, or other civic organizations.

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 the link to sign up for the magazine and 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
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.  HTM Joint Action Team calls are held the >> Third Tuesday of each month at 1:30 p.m. CST <<. Separate action team calls are scheduled as needed.
For more detailed information on the Biomass Resources & Demographics Action Team, please contact Mike Marsollek ( MMarsollek@kodaenergy.com ); and for the Biomass Policy & Benefits Action Team, please contact Gregg Mast (Gregg_Mast@earthtechenergy.com ). Questions pertaining to the Biomass Combustion Technologies Action Team can be forwarded to either action team chair noted, or feel free to contact Becky Philipp ( bphilipp@auri.org ), steering committee member.

Call for Your Midwest Biomass Stories and Events for December 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