CRDC announces grant for biomass-fueled district heating system

By Capital Regional Development Council | October 30, 2014

Capital Regional Development Council is pleased to announce they have been awarded a $250,000 grant from the U.S. Forest Service to support the development of a wood-fired district heating system in Claremont, New Hampshire.  The Forest Service program is designed to support the use of wood energy which will promote sound forest management, expand regional economics and create new rural jobs.

The Claremont wood energy district heating project being developed by New Hampshire-based energy development company, HotZero, will connect downtown buildings with an efficient hot water heating system using biomass wood as its fuel source.  It is expected that participating building owners will realize significant savings in heating costs without the need to use scarce capital and building space to install separate biomass systems.

CRDC Loan Officer Elizabeth Sweeney said, “This grant award is an important economic development resource for the Claremont area.  Finding ways to take control of energy costs, while using nearby resources offers some of the tools we need in communities like Claremont.”  Sweeney added, “While many parts of the northeast are seeing energy cost reductions related to low natural gas prices, communities like Claremont that do not have access to natural gas run the risk of being left behind.  Projects like this hot water district heating system helps level the playing field.  The fact that the fuel procurement will mean more jobs in the local forest products industry strengthens the economics of the project.”

The grant dollars will be used to complete engineering for the project.  It is expected that the first phases of the district heating system will be operational in late 2015.  Initially, the project will focus on the Opera Square section of downtown, but is designed to scale-up over time to connect other sections of the city.

HotZero Founding Director Dick Henry said, “We are looking forward to working with CRDC to make this innovative project a reality for the City of Claremont. This nationwide grant was very competitive.  So, we feel the validation this project has received from the U.S. Forest Service is an important step forward – not only for this project, but for the future of wood-powered hot water district heating systems in the region.”