February 2019 Newsletter

HTM Supporters & Stakeholders-
The polar vortex may have delivered some record cold over the past month but things are continuing to heat up here at HTM!
In February, the HTM Steering Committee discussed and approved several items that will continue to move the organization and our mission forward. We are thrilled to announce our 2019 leadership structure and work continues in preparation for this year’s 2019 HTM Conference & Expo that is tentatively scheduled to take place in October at Koda Energy in Shakopee, Minnesota.
The HTM Steering Committee also approved moving ahead with some needed updates for the Midwest Biomass Exchange (MBioEx) site. The MBioEx is a free interactive marketplace designed to bring together buyers and sellers of woody and agricultural biomass feedstocks for fuel and other higher value products. We anticipate these updates will continue to enhance the user experience while supporting HTM’s long-term goals to promote the use of biomass for heat and energy
As a reminder, HTM is also seeking interested individuals to serve in various leadership capacities across the organization. These volunteer positions include a vice president to serve as part of the HTM leadership team along with Action Team leads for both the Biomass Resources and Demographics Action Team and Biomass Combustion Technology Action Team. Please contact a member of the HTM Steering Committee to discuss in more detail.
Thank you for your continued engagement and please enjoy this month’s newsletter!
-Gregg Mast, HTM

In This Newsletter:

  • EIA: 900,000 Tons of Densified Biomass Fuel Sold in December
  • EPA Urged to Alter Comment Periods for Rules Impacted by Shutdown
  • BTEC Applauds Passage of 2018 Farm Bill, Agriculture Improvement Act
  • International Biomass Conference
  • Industry Publications
  • National Funding Opportunities
  • Minnesota Funding Opportunities
  • LinkedIn
  • Free Publications
  • Ideas for SWET
  • Become an Action Team Volunteer
  • Call for news

EIA: 900,000 Tons of Densified Biomass Fuel Sold in October

The U.S. Energy Information Administration recently released data showing that U.S. manufacturers produced approximately 750,000 tons of densified biomass fuel in October 2018, with sales reaching 900,000 tons. 
The data was released as part of the January edition of the EIA’s Monthly Densified Biomass Fuel Report, which includes data for October. The EIA collected data from 82 operating manufacturers of densified biomass fuel to complete the report. The report does not include data from facilities with annual production capacities of less than 10,000  tons. These smaller facilities report data annually rather than monthly.
The 82 manufacturers who submitted data for September have a combined annual production capacity of 11.76 million tons per year and collectively had an equivalent of 2,105 fuel-time employees.In October, respondents purchased 1.5 million tons of raw biomass feedstock, produced 750,000 tons of densified biomass fuel, and sold 900,000 tons of densified biomass fuel. Production included 174,077 tons of heating pellets and 571,430 tons of utility pellets.Domestic sales reached 287,689 tons at an average price of $162.04 per ton. Export sales reached 613,872 tons at an average price of $164.07 per ton.
Read the full story here .

EPA Urged to Alter Comment Periods for Rules Impacted by Shutdown

Democratic members of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works are urging the U.S. EPA to reopen and extend comment periods for all pending regulatory decisions impacted by the partial government shutdown, including its wood heater rule.
On Feb. 1, the group of senators, led by Sens. Tom Carper, D-Del., and Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., sent a letter to Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler asking him to reopen public comment periods for all pending regulatory decisions, extend those what are currently open and reschedule all public hearings that were cancelled due to the recent government shutdown. “For parts of the 35-day government shutdown, many of the federal websites that collect public comments were unavailable or inaccessible, preventing the American public from receiving the normal amount of time to review and comment on new regulations,” they said in a statement.
Read the full story here

BTEC Applauds Passage of 2018 Farm Bill, Agriculture Improvement Act

WASHINGTON – December 20, 2018 – The Biomass Thermal Energy Council (BTEC) applauds passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, the Agriculture Improvement Act, which increases authorized funding to $25 million for fiscal years 2019 through 2023 for the Community Wood Energy and Wood Innovations Program (CWEIP). The Farm Bill also includes language directing the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to equitably distribute funding for the Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels.“The use of wood for thermal energy from sustainably managed forest lands has numerous economic and environmental benefits including local job creation, enhanced energy security in rural communities, reduction of GHG emissions from fossil fuels, and improved forest health, which reduce the risk of wildfires on public and private lands,” said Jeff Serfass, BTEC Executive Director. “We applaud members of the Senate and House for coming together through a bipartisan process to improve the CWEIP and enabling our industry to help address the forest resource issues facing our country,” Serfass continued.
Read the full story here .

International Biomass Conference

Savannah, Georgia | March 18 – March 21, 2019
The 12th Annual International Biomass Conference & Expo will take place at the Savannah International Trade & Convention Center.
Find the agenda here .
Registration information can be found here .

Industry Publications

New Publication
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.
Minnesota Department of Agriculture is accepting applications for the AGRI Value-Added Grant Program – Round 2. Details are available here .

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: http://www.biomassmagazine.com/pages/subscribe/
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  
Website:  http://msue.anr.msu.edu/program/info/wood_energy
Wisconsin Statewide Wood Energy Team
Contact: Olivia Shanahan – PSC –  Olivia.Shanahan@wisconsin.gov
Website:  http://www.wisconsinwoodenergy.org/

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 Policy & Benefits Action Team, please contact Gregg Mast ( Gregg_Mast@earthtechenergy.com ). Questions pertaining to the Biomass Resources & Demographics Action Team & the Biomass Combustion Technologies Action Team can be forwarded to the 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 March 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 .