March 2019 Newsletter

Dear HTM Supporters: We have two events to share with you: last week’s International Biomass Conference and Expo (IBCE) in Savannah, Georgia and an October Heating the Midwest tour and networking event in Shakopee, Minnesota. At IBCE, it was reported that the 2018-19 heating season saw a return to at least an average winter after several years of unseasonably warm winters. In some markets, including the Upper Midwest and the Pacific Northwest, the 2018-19 heating season saw a longer and colder winter. Despite some challenges obtaining raw materials, it was a positive winter for biomass thermal. There was also a continued call for legislative support by the Biomass Thermal Energy Council (BTEC) and others, as the Biomass Thermal Utilization Act of 2019 (BTU Act) was introduced by the House (HR 1479) and Senate (S 628) on February 28, 2019. This bill provides a two-tiered investment tax credit for thermal biomass systems for commercial, industrial, and residential uses.  More information can be found on the BTU Act Fact Sheet< >. Further, the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 (Farm Bill) was passed with an improved and expanded Community Wood Energy and Wood Innovations Program (Sec. 8644) with $25 million of authorized funding. The Biomass Thermal Energy Council urges the full appropriation of $25 million for the program. A CWEWIP Fact Sheet< > contains more information. Please make yourself aware of these two important legislative efforts. For HTM, we are planning a one-day event on October 23, 2019 which is National Bioenergy Day! It will include a tour day of Koda Energy and other locations with an evening networking and award reception in Shakopee, Minnesota. This will be an exciting opportunity to see biomass thermal and CHP systems that are important solutions for using urban wood waste! Networking opportunities will abound during this event, will celebrates HTM’s 8th annual event and National Bioenergy Day! More information will be coming your way soon. 

Kind regards,
Heating the Midwest Steering Committee

In This Newsletter:

  • USDA Data Shows US Wood Pellet Exports Increased 17% in 2018
  • Biomass Thermal Utilization (BTU) Act of 2019
  • EIA Updates Bioenergy Forecasts, Predicts Capacity Increase
  • Federal Agencies Release Framework for Advancing the Bioeconomy
  • Industry Publications
  • National Funding Opportunities
  • Minnesota Funding Opportunities
  • LinkedIn
  • Free Publications
  • Ideas for SWET
  • Become an Action Team Volunteer
  • Call for news

USDA Data Shows US Wood Pellet Exports Increased 17% in 2018

The U.S. exported 6.04 million metric tons of wood pellets in 2018, up approximately 17 percent when compared to the 5.14 million metric tons exported in 2017, according to data released by the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service on March 6.
According to the data, the U.S. exported wood pellets to nearly three dozen countries last year, although the volume of those exports was under 100 metric tons each for approximately half of those nations.
Read the full story here .

Biomass Thermal Utilization (BTU) Act of 2019

House and Senate Introduce BTU Act! Join BTEC’s BTU Act Coalition
February 28, 2019 – WASHINGTON – The Biomass Thermal Energy Council (BTEC) applauds the introduction of the Biomass Thermal Utilization Act (BTU Act) of 2019 in the House by Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) and Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) and in the Senate by Sen. Angus King (I-ME) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME). The BTU Act provides an investment tax credit that already exists for other renewable energy technologies to high-efficiency wood heating installations.
“The BTU Act is a significant step towards achieving parity in tax treatment between modern wood heating and virtually all other renewable energy technologies. We welcome the bipartisan support this bill is achieving from Members of Congress across the country,” said Jeff Serfass, BTEC Executive Director.
The BTU Act amends Section 25D of the tax code to make residential wood heating systems that are at least 75% efficient eligible for the residential renewable energy investment tax credit. It also amends Section 48 of the tax code to offer a two-tiered tax credit for commercial and industrial wood heating installations. Systems with efficiency capabilities of between 65 and 80% are limited to a 15% credit, while systems that operate at efficiency levels greater than 80% are eligible for the full 30% credit.
Read the full press release here .
Download the fact sheet here .

If you would like to join the 2019 BTU Act Coalition please contact:
Peter Thompson, BTEC Project Coordinator  | (202) 596-3974 x302

EIA Updates Bioenergy Forecasts, Predicts Capacity Increase

The U.S. Energy Information Administration has released the March edition of its Short-Term Energy Outlook, predicting that nonhydropower renewables will provide 11 percent of U.S. electricity generation this year, increasing to 13 percent next year. Nonhydropower renewables provided approximately 10 percent of U.S. electricity generation last year.
The EIA currently predicts wood biomass will be used to generate 116,000 MWh per day of electricity in both 2019 and 2020. Waste biomass is expected to be used to generate 58,000 MWh per day in both years.
Read the full story here .

Federal Agencies Release Framework for Advancing the Bioeconomy

The federal Biomass Research and Development (BR&D) Board unveiled a multi-agency strategy March 5 to accelerate innovative technologies that harness the nation’s biomass resources for affordable biofuels, bioproducts, and biopower.  The Bioeconomy Initiative: Implementation Framework  was developed by the B&RD Board—an interagency collaborative which is co-chaired by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Energy—to guide such efforts.
The Bioeconomy Initiative: Implementation Framework outlines an approach for implementing the Initiative. The Framework will serve as a guiding document for the BR&D Board member agencies to increase government accountability and accelerate innovative and sustainable technologies that contribute to a secure, reliable, affordable, and enduring supply of U.S. energy and products.
The Framework presents goals and actions for addressing knowledge and technology gaps in:
– Advanced algae systems
– Feedstock genetic improvement, production, management, and logistics
– Biomass conversion and carbon utilization
– Transportation, distribution infrastructure, and end use
– Bioeconomy analysis
– Bioeconomy sustainability
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:
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-  
Website: 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 Policy & Benefits Action Team, please contact Gregg Mast ( ). 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 ( ), steering committee member. 

Call for Your Midwest Biomass Stories and Events for April 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 .