US Forest Service opens RFP for Wood Innovations Program

By Erin Voegele | October 24, 2018

The U.S. Forest Service is seeking grant applications for its Wood Innovations Program, which aims to support projects that expand wood product and wood energy markets, reduce wildfire risk, and improve forest health.

The Forest Service issued the request for proposals (RFP) on Oct. 24, in recognition of National Bioenergy Day and National Forest Products Week. Applications must be submitted by Jan. 23. The Forest Service is expected to notify applications of results in May 2019 and award funds in August 2019.

For 2019, the Forest Service said it will invest up to $8 million in projects under the program. The RFP focuses on three main priority areas, including the reduction of hazardous fuels and improvement of forest health, the reduction of forest management costs on all land types, and the promotion of economic and environmental health of communities.

Funding is available to support a wide range of activities, including engineering designs, costs analyses and permitting necessary in the final states of commercial construction projects that use wood as a primary building material, and for later stages of wood energy project development to secure financing. The RFP indicates early phase project development proposals will not be competitive. Funding can also be used to establish statewide wood utilization teams and statewide energy teams. However, only proposals from states without an existing or former team will be considered. In addition, the program can award funding to support the development of a cluster of wood energy projects in a geographic area or specific sector. The RFP offers prisons, hospitals, universities, manufacturing sectors, or industrial sectors as examples.

According to the Forest Service, it has awarded more than 310 grants since 2005 to small businesses, nonprofits, institutions of higher education, tribes, states and local government to promote the economic and environmental health of communities. Since 2013, funding awarded under the Wood Innovations Program has also helped establish 10 statewide wood utilization teams and 22 statewide wood energy teams that collectively expand and support wood products and wood energy markets.

Additional information, including a full copy of the RFP, is available on the Forest Service website.