Oregon Department of Forestry Opens Biomass Funding Opportunity

By Erin Voegele | December 28, 2012

The Oregon Department of Forestry has opened up a funding opportunity with the goal of identifying ways in which the state’s woody biomass can be used to produce heat, power and fuels. According to the department, it has $60,000 in federal grant funds that will be awarded to applications whose projects would help restore overgrown forest by putting excess biomass to work in a cost-effective manner.

Specifically, the funds are designed to help applicants to conduct feasibility studies, and design and engineering activities related to forest biomass projects. Both public and private entities are eligible to apply. The ODF says that awards will be made for up to $20,000. The grant can be used to cover up to 75 percent of project costs.

I think it’s great that the ODF is opening up this opportunity within its state. While the $20,000 award maximum may not seem like a lot of money, it should help some local projects move forward.

Although the information released by the ODF doesn’t specifically mention pellet production, I hope that we see some pellet projects competing for the grant. As we all know, the wood pellet industry has been exploding in the southeastern U.S., focused almost exclusively on the export of wood pellets to Europe. While it might not make sense to export pellets from Oregon to serve the European market, I think we are going to see demand for woody biomass in North America grow enough to support a larger pellet production industry on the west coast.

Projects eligible for the funding must be located in Union, Banker, Wallowa, Umatilla and Grant counties in northeastern Oregon.

The deadline to submit applications is Feb. 1, 2013. Applications can be submitted online through the Oregon Procurement Information Network. The grant reference number is ODF 2079-12.