DOC is requesting applications for biomass heat & energy installation

Applications must be submitted by Jan. 5, 2010

By Ramona du Houx - November 4th, 2009 

The Department of Conservation is requesting applications for biomass heat and energy installation projects for funding through federal recovery act funds.

Some 15 shovel-ready projects from public institutions, including schools, hospitals, and state, county, local and tribal government agencies, will be funded with $11.4 million stimulus funds received by the state.

These are one-time funds that will be spent or committed within two years. Working in conjunction with the Governor’s Office, the Legislature and the U.S. Forest Service, the Conservation Department has determined that it will use the stimulus funding for contracts to support new or far-reaching programs to convert public facilities in Maine to wood heat.

Wood-pellet boilers at Strong and Kingfield Elementary Schools were purchased with a USDA grant. They’re a prime example of how schools can covert to wood pellets becoming more environmentally friendly while saving funds.

With a new wood pellet manufacture located in Strong, transportation costs are also minimal.

Governor John Baldacci and DOC Commissioner Pat McGowan visited Strong a year ago to highlight the school district first wood pellet burner at Mt. Abram High School. At that time, the Governor, who has been promoting wood pellets as an alternative fuel, said their initiative is an example for others to follow.

“At Mt. Abram they are actually stimulating economic growth. Using wood pellets manufactured just eight miles done the road helps create jobs and security in the community. The economic ripple effect will be great,” said Gov. John Baldacci. “We need to be in control of our own energy supply. Seeing gas hit over $4 a gallon jeopardized businesses across the country, and has cost jobs. We never should have become so dependent on foreign energy sources. This is a shinning example of how we can begin to turn that around.”

Through the fuel conversion process, the stimulus funding will create and support jobs among licensed solid wood-fuel professionals, contractors and engineering firms. Use of the recovery funds also is expected to benefit loggers and other forest-products professionals.

The biomass project applications must be submitted by Jan. 5, 2010, and the awards will be announced as soon as possible. The proposals must come from public institutions, rather than vendors, and must meet two basic guidelines: the wood-to-energy projects must be shovel-ready, and they must create or retain jobs.

The request for applications is available at www.maine.gov/doc/mfs/arra or contact Jennifer Wright, Maine Forest Service, at jennifer.wright@maine.gov.