December 2018 Newsletter

Season’s Greetings HTM supporters-
As 2018 comes to a close, the HTM Steering Committee would like to extend a “warm” thank you for your continued engagement and enthusiasm. Among HTM’s activities over the past year, the 7th Annual Heating the Midwest Conference and Expo held in Carlton, Minnesota back in May was a highlight for me. It was great to see many of you in person as we discussed our region’s successes and challenges. I’m also excited by the many ways that, together, we can build additional support for biomass thermal energy as we move into 2019!
Recently, President Trump signed the Farm Bill (the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018) into law. The bill reauthorizes the Energy Title (IX) and important programs that will assist producers and rural communities in harnessing opportunities to use agriculture and forestry resources for sustainable energy. A new addition in the 2018 Farm Bill was the Timber Innovation Act that will also help expand markets for mass timber.
As we embrace winter, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) expects average household bills for home heating from most major energy sources to rise this heating season. This is due to higher forecast energy prices while temperatures are expected to be similar to last year for most of the country. Homeowners will need to make sure that their heating is functioning at its optimum level for the winter months. To make sure you get regular tune-ups and keep everything running for a longer time, you could visit By doing this, you can ensure breakdowns are prevented on cold days by spotting issues before they even happen so that it doesn’t break down at the worst time. There is nothing worse than having your house at the same temperature as outside. Residents could also develop hypothermia if they were to stay in low temperatures for long hours. To make sure that they are covered just in case it does, they can look at websites such as for home warranty information that can help them feel safe at this time. EIA anticipates home heating oil bills will rise by 20%, natural gas by 5%, electricity by 3% with propane bills about the same as last winter. This may provide additional opportunities to grow the estimated base of 2.1 million households across the country who used cordwood or wood pellets as the primary residential space-heating fuel in 2017. According to the EIA, another 8% of households use wood as a secondary source of heat, placing wood behind only electricity as supplemental heating fuel. Home heating can be a worry for people and their bills, that’s why some may get themselves an infrared heater where instead of heating a room it heats only the person, saving money on central heating. There is a buyer’s guide on infrared heaters that you can check out to see if one would suit you and your house.
Thanks again for your support and participation with HTM! Have a terrific holiday season and talk with you in the new year!
Gregg Mast – HTM

In This Newsletter:

  • Preliminary Agenda Announced for 12th Annual IBC
  • House Passes 2018 Farm Bill
  • EIA Updates 2018, 2019 Bioenergy Production, Capacity Forecasts
  • Mark Your Calendar with NW CERT
  • Industry Publications
  • National Funding Opportunities
  • Minnesota Funding Opportunities
  • LinkedIn
  • Free Publications
  • Ideas for SWET
  • Become an Action Team Volunteer
  • Call for news

Preliminary Agenda Announced for 12th Annual International Biomass Conference & Expo

Produced by Biomass Magazine and BBI International, the event is the largest gathering of biomass industry stakeholders in the world.

Savannah, GA – (December 13, 2018) – Biomass Magazine announced this week the agenda for the 12 th Annual International Biomass Conference & Expo taking placeMarch 18-20, 2019 at the Savannah International Trade & Convention Center in Savannah, Georgia. The three-day agenda will be divided into four tracks covering pellets & densified biomass, biomass power & thermal, biogas & waste-to-energy, and advanced biofuels & biobased chemicals, as well as a pre-conference event titled, the Biomass Preparation, Handling and Storage Workshop. The pre-conference event is a full-day session taking place Monday, March 18, prior to the evening opening reception in the expo hall and will detail the latest advancements in material handling.
Read the full press release here .

House Passes 2018 Farm Bill

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the $867 billion 2018 Farm Bill by a vote of 369 to 47 on Dec. 12. The legislation will now be sent to President Trump’s desk. Trump is expected to sign the bill later this week.
Passage of the bill comes after months of delays. The House Agriculture Committee first released a draft of the legislation in April. The House passed its version of the bill on June 21, while the Senate passed its version of the legislation a week later, on June 28.
Read the full story here .

EIA Updates 2018, 2019 Bioenergy Production, Capacity Forecasts

The U.S. Energy Information Administration has released the December edition of its Short-Term Energy Outlook, predicting that nonhydropower renewables will provide 10 percent of U.S. utility-scale power generation this year, increasing to 11 percent in 2011.
The EIA currently predicts wood biomass will be used to generate 114,000 MWh per day of electricity this year, increasing to 117,000 MWh per day in 2019. Waste biomass is expected to be used to generate 58,000 MWh of generation in both years.
Read the full story here .

Mark Your Calendar with NW CERT: Jan. 23rd Warren Film Festival

Please mark your calendars for Jan. 23rd 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm for a film festival in Warren, MN featuring clean energy! Register online at or call 612-626-0555.
You, your neighbors and colleagues are invited to the Warren Film Festival, featuring three films:- Emmy-award winning Redford film featuring Warren- Twin Cities Public Television film featuring Warren- the new “Power of Minnesota” documentary which tells the story of how clean energy is making local economies throughout our region even stronger.
During this free event, you’ll enjoy refreshments, join a community conversation, celebrate Warren’s clean energy developments, and learn how you can take action on your own projects!
Agenda:6:30pm – Social hour, refreshments, and resources7:00pm – Film screenings and community discussion/Q&A8:30pm – Refreshments, networking, and resources9:00pm – Event ends
This event is hosted by the City of Warren, Minnkota Power Cooperative, University of Minnesota’s Northwest Regional Sustainable Development Partnership (NW RSDP), and Northwest Clean Energy Resource Team (NW CERT). This event is free and open to the public.
Time & location: Wednesday, January 23, 2019 – 6:30pm to 9:00pmWAO High School Auditorium224 E Bridge AveWarren, MN 56762
RSVP now and invite some friends… It is going to be a great celebration of Warren and clean energy in Minnesota! Register online at or call 612-626-0555.

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 and 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:

Have Biomass Project Ideas for SWET?

Michigan Statewide Wood Energy Team
Contact: Ray Miller –

Wisconsin Statewide Wood Energy Team
Contact: Olivia Shanahan – PSC –

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 ( ); and for the Biomass Policy & Benefits Action Team, please contact Gregg Mast ( ). 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 ( ), steering committee member.

Call for Your Midwest Biomass Stories and Events for January 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 . And, if you’d like to be on the list to receive upcoming newsletters, please contact Kelsey Loeffler at .