January 2019 Newsletter

Greeting Heating the Midwest readers,
As per normal, natural gas and other fossil fuels have had a wild swing this winter thus far which should embolden our efforts to educate those with access to the right biomass resources to consider such renewable and stable fuel. We have many things to be excited about coming in 2019. There’s the potential of updated data in conjunction with other regions in partnership with BTEC and funding opportunities from the USFS Wood Innovations Grant Program. While we aren’t sure of submission and obviously receipt, there is still nationwide interest in keeping our data current.
Heating the Midwest plans to orchestrate a 1 day tour this Spring with a dinner to follow of biomass combustion sites. Please stay tuned as you’ll see details coming in the next two months. HTM is seeking volunteers for the HTM Conference/Event Planning Committee. If interested, please contact a HTM Steering Committee member.
Finally, it is our hope with all the fires in the West this year that additional timber management, with some additional efforts to utilize for biomass heating, will come to be which will bolster awareness even in our region.
Please connect with us, stay abreast of the issues with us and share ideas and news that you feel our readers would find meaningful.
Thanks for your interest and continued support of HTM.

Tony “T.J.” Morice

In This Newsletter:

  • New Biomass Plant Will Increase Dartmouth’s Sustainability
  • Koda Energy Urges EPA to Process eRIN Applications
  • PFI Submit Comments on Minimum Pellet Fuel Requirements in NSPS
  • Debate Over Biomass’ Role Enter “Green New Deal” Fray
  • Industry Publications
  • National Funding Opportunities
  • Minnesota Funding Opportunities
  • LinkedIn
  • Free Publications
  • Ideas for SWET
  • Become an Action Team Volunteer
  • Call for news

New Biomass Plant Will Increase Dartmouth’s Sustainability

Dartmouth is seeking proposals to build a biomass energy heating facility and transmission system to replace the existing central heating system, marking a major step in the institution’s sustainability commitment to reduce carbon emissions and transition to renewable energy sources by the year 2025.
The new system, estimated to cost more than $200 million, will change how heat is produced and delivered on campus, transitioning from steam to hot-water heat, a change that is expected to improve heating efficiency by 20 percent and will mean replacing the existing steam pipes that are in more than 110 buildings on campus.
Read the full story here .

Koda Energy Urges EPA to Process eRIN Applications

Shakopee, Minnesota-based Koda Energy LLC is urging the U.S. EPA to promptly process applications to allow biomass power facilities to participate in the Renewable Fuel Standard program by generating e-renewable identification numbers (eRINs).On Jan. 21, Stacy Cook, president of Koda Energy, send a letter to Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler asking him to take action to allow biomass power facilities to generate eRINs under the RFS.
In his letter, Cook noted Koda Energy is a biomass-fueled combined-heat-and-power plant that is jointly owned by the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, a federally recognized Indian tribe, and Rahr Corp., a family-owned producer and distributor of malt and brewing products for the beer, distilling and win making industries.
“Since 2009 Koda Energy has been offering a practical solution for processing vast amounts of wood and agricultural byproduct wastes that are accumulating in the community and surrounding areas,” Cook wrote in the letter. “Due to uncertain power purchase contracts and other economic influences that are out of our control, our facility may be approaching imminent shutdown. The ability to participate in the RFS program will help our facility remain open, continuing to provide these much needed benefits.”
Read the full story here .

PFI Submits Comments on Minimum Pellet Fuel Requirements in NSPS

On Jan. 14, the Pellet Fuels Institute continued its ongoing effort to eliminate the inclusion of minimum pellet fuel requirements in the New Source Performance Standard by submitting written comments  to the U.S. EPA prior to the comment deadline.
“Our submitted comments are simply a refrain of the position that the PFI has held and argued for since at least 2015,” said PFI Executive Director Tim Portz. “Including minimum pellet fuel requirements in federal regulation will not advance the aims of the Clean Air Act and will unfairly burden pellet manufacturers with compliance requirements not born by any other fuel type in the wood heat category.”
The PFI has long been an advocate for pellet standards as a means of guaranteeing the availability of high-quality wood pellets in the marketplace, developing in concert with state and federal regulators the world’s most robust pellet standards program. “The challenge for the PFI is helping stakeholders in the regulatory community understand that our opposition is not to standards or minimum requirements, but to codifying those standards and requirements within a piece of federal regulation,” said Portz.
Read the full story here

Debate Over Biomass’ Role Enters “Green New Deal” Fray

On January 10th, 626 environmental organizations sent a letter to Congress with a list of demands for a potential Green New Deal. Among other things, the letter calls for reliance mostly on wind and solar technology in any federal climate change mitigation plan, and states that “in addition to excluding fossil fuels, any definition of renewable energy must also exclude all combustion-based power generation, nuclear, biomass energy, large scale hydro and waste-to-energy technologies.”
The idea of a Green New Deal — a Works Progress Administration level of federal support for a transition to a green economy — is nothing new. In fact, President Obama’s 2009 stimulus package contained the largest-ever investment in renewable, energy efficiency and low-carbon research, development and deployment. Ten years later, freshmen members of the 116th Congress, particularly Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), have brought fresh energy and attention to the urgency of a Green New Deal – one that both addresses climate change and the potential economic and jobs opportunities such a transition could spur. 
Read the full story 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 & 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_energyWisconsin 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 February 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 .