May 2019 Newsletter


Summer is upon us and while we don’t typically think of heating during this time of year it’s a time to plan and look to future opportunities. One of those opportunities is Heating the Midwest coordinating a tour and reception dinner the same day at National Bioenergy Day October 23, 2019. MARK YOU CALENDARS! Details will be coming out soon but you’ll be excited to see biomass used successfully in industrial, commercial and retail locations in Minnesota. This followed by networking opportunities with professionals in this industry to dream a little about project opportunities, financing, project programs, grants and technologies available. 

We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible for this great day! Enjoy the beginning of summer.

Tony “T.J.” Morice on behalf of the Heating the Midwest Steering Committee

In This Newsletter:

  • BTU Act 2019
  • Wood Stove Industry Positioned to Meet New Emission Standards
  • USDA: US Pellet Exports Reach 610,554 Tons in March
  • Wood Markets Update
  • DOE Offers Funding for “State-of-the-art” Residential Wood and Pellet Heater R&D
  • The Climate Economy in Southern Illinois
  • Industry Publications
  • National Funding Opportunities
  • Minnesota Funding Opportunities
  • LinkedIn
  • Free Publications
  • Ideas for SWET
  • Become an Action Team Volunteer
  • Call for news

SAVE THE DATE – 2019 Heating the Midwest National Bioenergy Day Event!

PLEASE MARK YOUR CALENDARS! The Heating the Midwest (HTM) is pleased to announce that for the 8th year, it will hold a conference in collaboration with Koda Energy and the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute on National Bioenergy Day on October 23, 2019 in Shakopee, MN. The event will include a tour day of Koda Energy and Rahr Malting, St. Paul District Energy, and Len Busch Roses followed by an evening networking and award reception. 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. Additional details are forthcoming. 

HTM Seeking Award Recommendations
This year, Heating the Midwest will be presenting two awards at the HTM conference event on October 23—a Biomass Thermal Leadership Award and a Biomass Thermal Project Award. Recommendations of companies and/or individuals for these awards are being sought.  
Please submit recommendations to Tim Portz at


The Biomass Thermal Utilization Act (BTU Act) has been introduced in the U.S. House (H.R. 1479) and Senate (S. 628). Currently, high-efficiency biomass heating systems are not eligible for federal investment tax credits. The BTU Act aims to expand the market for biomass heating by providing a tax credit that helps to overcome the high capital costs of installing a biomass heating system and provides tax parity for biomass thermal technologies and fuels. Contact your members of Congress and tell them why you support the BTU Act and why it’s important for your business and customers.
Learn more about the BTU Act here and find your members of Congress here . Thank you for supporting modern wood heating!

Despite Claims of “Devastating” Impact, Wood Stove Industry Positioned to Meet New Emission Standards

With the Step 2 deadline for wood and pellet stoves just a year away, most stove manufacturers say they are ready or will be soon. Many retailers also say they are ready, while others prepare to deeply discount stoves that can’t be sold after May 2020. Gone are the days when industry was trying to convince Congress and the Administration that EPA’s new stove regulations would have a “devastating” impact. Such claims are common in Washington, as groups try to rally their base, but it can also lead to a diminished credibility for an industry association if the hyperbole goes too far.
From the start, it was clear that the boiler and furnace manufacturers needed relief far more than stove companies and retailers. Heads of outdoor boiler companies and indoor wood boilers that cost less than the average wood stove were leaders of a campaign to get Congress to give all classes of heaters a three-year delay in meeting the new standards. 
Read the full story here

USDA: US Pellet Exports Reach 610,554 Tons in March

The USDA Foreign Agricultural Service released updated export data May 9, reporting the U.S. exported 610,554.3 tons of wood pellets in March, up from 501,563.9 tons exported in February, and up from 374,446 tons in March 2019.
On a value basis, the USDA data shows the total value of March wood pellets exports was $85.19 million, up from $63.73 million in February and up from $46.68 million in March 2018.
Read the full story here

Wood Markets Update

The May 2019 Wood Markets Update by Don Deckard, Ph.D., Forest Economist highlights the following:

  • Smoke exposure heightens mortality risk for firefighters
  • More ash trees will fall as jumping tree lice spread
  • Q1 real GDP grew 3.2%
  • March housing starts down 14.2% from March 2018
  • Verso announces Luke paper mill shut, 675 jobs and 450,000 tons
  • Production and raw material costs for the U.S. paper industry
  • Minnesota Funding for bioenergy, biochemical pilot plants
  • EPA to issue proposed rule on biomass carbon neutrality.

Download the full update here

DOE Offers Funding for “State-of-the-art” Residential Wood & Pellet Heater R&D

For the first time, the US Department of Energy issued a funding announcement to support the development of innovative, state-of-the art technology in residential wood and pellet stoves and central heaters.
The announcement is part of a larger  funding opportunity  from the DOE’s Bioenergy Technology Office (BETO), which includes wood heaters because of a Congressional earmark. The DOE will provide up to $5 million in grants from $300,000 to $1,000,000. They expect to issue between 5 – 7 grants. The timeline for applying is short and requires a concept paper to be submitted by June 3 as a precondition of submitting the full application on July 22, 2019.

The funding is timely as it could assist wood stove, boiler and furnace manufacturers in developing heaters that meet the  EPA’s 2020 emission standards . Funding is available for research and development on innovative heater design, not just for certification lab testing. Thus, manufacturers who may have delayed R&D could benefit from this grant the most, compared to those who already have a nearly full line of 2020 compliant heaters. Manufacturers can bring Step 2020 compliant heaters to market any time before or after the May 15, 2020 deadline. Funding from the DOE is expected to last for 2 – 3 years, covering work completed in 2020, 2021 and 2022.

Read the full story here

The Climate Economy in Southern Illinois

Creating Resilient Businesses, Jobs and Communities.Education and resources about clean energy, new and emerging industries and changing business models for a vibrant sustainable economy that works for all.
June 12-13, 2019 | Carbondale, IL
More information can be found here

Industry Publications

New Publication

Recent Publications:

Other publications:

National Funding Opportunities

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.

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 June 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