July 2018 Newsletter

While heating isn’t always something we think about in summer, we at Heating the Midwest are always active in sharing information and adding to our regional participation. In the last month we’ve been fortunate to add 4 new members to our Steering Committee. They are Jeremy Mortl from Messersmith Manufacturing, Ben Rose from Michigan Wood Fuels, Mike Marsollek from Koda Energy and Tim Portz from Pellet Fuels Institute. We welcome them to our efforts of education and advocacy for biomass thermal heating in the Midwest.
Some of the other things you’ll see coming which will be of additional benefit will be resources on our Heating the Midwest website. These will include updates related to regional policy, program and incentive programs that will benefit those considering the wise investment of biomass thermal. Also, we’ll include some links to recorded webinars to the SWET’s (State Wood Energy Teams) and other related information many of you would find useful like the latest Wood Chip Standard and policy.
Keep connected with us as we unfold these additional, practical tools.
Enjoy the balance of your summer!
Tony “T.J.” Morice and the HTM Steering Committee

In This Newsletter:

  • Xcel pays $24.5M for biomass plant due for closure
  • All Things Biomass
  • American Wood Stoves
  • Clean Air Minnesota Wood Smoke Project Team
  • GRE 2018 MN Farm Program
  • Live Webinar
  • Got Biomass To sell?
  • European Pellet Conference 2019
  • National Funding Opportunities
  • Minnesota Funding Opportunities
  • LinkedIn
  • Free Publications
  • Ideas for SWET
  • Become an Action Team Volunteer
  • Call for news

Xcel pays $24.5M for biomass plant due for closure

Minneapolis-based  Xcel Energy  has paid $24.5 million in cash for a trailblazing power plant in west-central Minnesota that the utility will decommission by the end of the year.
The Benson Power Plant, which opened in 2007 as FibroMinn, runs on an unusual fuel source: turkey droppings. The 55-megawatt plant at 900 Industry Drive in Benson, Minnesota, burns the animal waste, woodchips and other biomass to generate power. At the time it opened, it was hailed as the first power plant of its kind in the nation.
Read the full story here .

All Things Biomass

The 11th annual International Biomass Conference & Expo, held in Atlanta in April, welcomed nearly 800 attendees from 25 countries, 47 U.S. states and six Canadian provinces. More producers than ever attended this year’s event, with 25 percent of registrations consisting of pellet, biomass power, biogas and advanced biofuel producers, from countries including, but not limited to North America, India, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Mexico, Namibia, Puerto Rico, Israel and Ireland.
Read the full story here .

American Wood Stoves: Delay and Deregulate, or Innovate for the Future?

The U.S. EPA recently announced that it was going to provide some relief to the wood stove industry by reopening and modifying the Obama-era regulations that would have set stricter emission limits on stoves and boilers in 2020.
Led by the Hearth, Patio and Barbeque Association, the domestic stove and boiler industry aggressively lobbied both Congress and the administration for a three-year delay. The House of Representatives agreed, but the Senate did not act on it. Now, under Administrator Scott Pruitt, the EPA has indicated that it is open to approving that delay, and also receptive to a wider rewrite of parts of the rule.
Read the full story here .

Clean Air Minnesota Wood Smoke Project Team

The Clean Air Minnesota Wood Smoke Project Team is working to maximize emission reduction opportunities from wood burning sources through a pilot wood stove exchange program, information sharing, outreach, and education. Areas of discussion and interest include biomass appliance technologies, brush and biomass management, education on wood storage and best burn practices, and wood stove change-out programs.
More information can be found here .

GRE 2018 MN Farm Program

New Farm Energy Management Program in 2018. Find more information here .

Live Webinar

Increasing Adoption of Residential Wood Energy: Past, Present, & Future
August 29, 2018 | 2:00 P.M. US/Eastern
You are invited to attend our latest Live Webinar sponsored by: NC State University Extension Forestry, Southern Regional Extension Forestry, University of Maryland Extension.
What will you learn?
Wood is the fastest growing residential heat fuel in the United States and accounts for 75% of the residential renewable energy produced. Residential user have figured out that heating with wood and/or pellets has significant benefits, even with low fossil fuel prices. New EPA regulations on wood stoves may have significant impact on wood stove technology, meanwhile pellet stoves continue to increase in popularity. This presentation will help you better understand issues regarding heating with wood and new developments and technology. learn more here…
Jonathan Kays, Natural Resources Extension Specialist, University of Maryland Extension

Got Biomass to Sell?

Are you seeking outlets for selling mill residues this year? Check out the updated Midwest Biomass Exchange website at www.mbioex.com – a free internet marketplace designed to help buyers and sellers of woody and agricultural biomass get connected. Users can place “For Sale” and “Wanted” ads for biomass that can be used as fuel for heating and power generation, or as feedstock for other manufacturing processes. The website includes a mapping utility that shows the rough location of buyers and sellers, and provides an email utility that helps protect users from spam.
Read more here .

European Pellet Conference 2019

Mark your calendars for February 27-28, 2019 and join more than 450 experts at the world’s largest annual conference on pellets. The European Pellet Conference will provide in-depth information on pellet innovation, market, policy and financing trends.
Get involved: Call for Papers & Speakers – deadline 10 October 2018
You are warmly invited to take an active part in the event through our call for papers and speakers. Share your work with the worldwide sustainable energy community! Submit your paper or  propose a speaker (online form) . Deadline for submissions is 10 October 2018 . Visit our website for detailed information: www.wsed.at/call .
More information on the conference can be found 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
MDA AGRI Value Added Feasibility Grant Program The Minnesota Department ofAgriculture (MDA) will reimburse up to 50% of the costs, with a maximum award of $35,000, for an independent third party consultant to conduct a feasibility study of your agricultural value-added business venture. Any Minnesota resident or business can apply to receive funding to do a feasibility study for a new business or expansion/diversification of an existing business that will add value to a Minnesota agricultural commodity or product. This includes but is not limited to farmers/farmer networks, agricultural cooperatives, and agricultural businesses.

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
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 August 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