Renewable Heat NY projects support growth of biomass industry

By New York State Energy Research and Development Authority | April 09, 2015

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and Vincent’s Heating and Fuel Service have announced the kickoff of 15 commercial and residential high-efficiency, low-emission wood pellet-fired heating projects and the availability of bulk pellet delivery in the Mohawk Valley and North Country.

As New York shifts the way it does business with the energy industry to a more market-based approach, these projects are spurring the growth of the biomass industry in the Mohawk Valley and North Country, providing examples of the ways new technology works in various settings. With locally produced wood pellets and state-of-the-art pellet and cordwood boilers made in New York, the projects are stimulating investment in the industry and in New York State.

These projects help build a sustainable renewable heating sector, a skilled installer base and sustainably harvested wood fuels from New York forests. They are part of New York's comprehensive Reforming the Energy Vision, a substantial restructuring of the State’s energy regulatory environment and clean energy programs. Through the proposed Clean Energy Fund, one of the four REV “pillars,” New York State will reduce greenhouse gases, attract private capital to invest in clean energy, and employ innovative approaches that will enable new, integrated, self-sustaining energy markets and expand economic development.

“Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, the State is developing a viable industry of locally produced wood pellets and equipment made in New York,” said John B. Rhodes, president and CEO of NYSERDA. “These wood-fired heating projects demonstrate that New Yorkers who want to burn wood for heat are taking advantage of new, cleaner technology that saves money, and benefits the environment and the economy.”

NYSERDA’s Renewable Heat NY initiative, launched last year, promotes the highest efficiency class of wood-fired heating technologies in the nation, and is expected to make New York State a national leader in developing this low-emission industry. Environmental and public health benefits, along with a reduction in fossil-fuel use, an increase in sustainable forestry, and the expansion of the wood pellet and equipment supply chains, will benefit communities across the state. In addition, the availability of bulk pellet delivery will make it easier for residents and businesses to purchase and store pellets.

The 15 projects announced today are located in the following areas:


Mohawk Valley

Construction of three 70-ton silos for pellet storage at Vincent's Heating and Fuel, LLC’s facility in Poland, N.Y. and support for a pellet delivery truck.

Six commercial high efficiency pellet boiler systems:
- Deerfield Highway Garage
- Deerfield Municipal Building
- Old Forge Hardware
- Town of Webb Municipal Building
- Town of Webb Highway Garage
- Total Body Fitness in Barneveld, New York 
Five residential systems:
- Two residential projects in Cold Brook, New York
- One residential project in Poland, Yew York
- One residential project in Clinton, New York
- One residential project in Utica, New York


North Country

Two commercial high efficiency pellet boiler systems:
Indian Lake District Heating Project
Town of Morehouse Highway Building  

Two residential systems:
- One residential project in Potsdam, New York 
_ One residential project in Cleveland, New York

Vincent’s Heating Owner Laurie Vincent said, “We at Vincent’s Heating are proud of the commitment NYSERDA and our company have made to the environment and our communities. Our mission since our first pellet delivery has been to clean up the landfills one wood pellet bag at a time through bulk delivery, and provide a significantly cheaper and cleaner fuel than fossil fuels. With the support of the State, we can build the necessary infrastructure and embark on our vision to build a partnership with the future.”

State Sen. Joseph A. Griffo, chairman of the New York State Senate Energy & Telecommunications Committee, said, “The projects launched under this program will demonstrate to residents, businesses and municipalities that locally grown wood, sustainably harvested and combined with the highest efficiency low-emission wood-fired technology, is an excellent addition to our state's fuel diversity, especially in areas of the state where forest wood is plentiful, such as the Mohawk Valley, North Country and the Southern Tier.”

Griffo added, “I look forward to the success of Renewable Heat NY and a growing new market in New York that will bring jobs and more affordable, clean heating options to consumers.”

State Assemblyman Marc Butler said, “Vincent’s Heating & Fuel LLC is in the process of an exciting transition in which it will be able to offer customers energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly wood pellet boilers and furnaces. I look forward to seeing how Gov. Cuomo’s Cleaner, Greener Communities program will help Vincent’s grow and reach more customers. This investment will allow jobs to grow in this field and provide an alternative home heating fuel option that focuses on sustainable and renewable wood products.”

Evoworld CEO Lou Okonski said, “With the help of the Renewable Heat NY initiative, we are on the way to making an advanced biomass heating technology familiar to the residents of New York State. This is a step toward a needed evolution in our energy portfolio. This technology will provide economical heat and allow for a renewable and sustainable fuel while giving consumers a reliable, stable and inexpensive heating choice. We have ‘Made in NY’ boilers, with renewable fuel from New York State forests, serviced and fueled by a New York State company.”

Matt McArdle, Chair of the New York Bioenergy Alliance and president of MESA Reduction Engineering and Processing, said, “These projects are helping catalyze the high-efficiency and low-emissions wood heating industry, and provide New Yorkers with an alternative to the high price of available fossil fuels. The New York Bioenergy Alliance applauds the efforts made through the Renewable Heat NY initiative, which will tap in to today’s sustainable forestry practices, assuring a truly renewable and low cost domestic heating fuel for generations to come.”

Nick Matt, CEO and Chairman of F.X. Matt Brewing Co. in Utica, Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council member, said, “These projects win on all fronts. The Vincent’s Heating project leverages regional assets to create jobs, enable innovation in Upstate manufacturing, expand the market for forest products, and offer a clean, domestic, low-cost alternative to oil to rural communities. The environmental benefits are substantial and the annual savings realized by homeowners and businesses will continue to ripple throughout the local economy for generations. The projects align with the goals of the 2015 Clean Energy Economy Conference planned for June 11-12 at SUNY Polytechnic Institute in Utica.”

Deerfield Town Supervisor Scott Mahardy said, “The Town of Deerfield is excited to partner with NYSERDA and Vincent's Heating in a project that will stabilize our future cost structure utilizing a dependable renewable resource in wood pellets versus the volatility of oil.”

Many of the projects are part of Gov. Cuomo’s Cleaner, Greener Communities program, a major statewide initiative encouraging communities to incorporate sustainability goals and principles into local decision-making, and then form partnerships to transform these goals into economic development projects. The program, administered by NYSERDA, also empowers communities to take action, providing technical resources and decision-making tools on land use, housing, transportation, energy, economic development, and environmental practices, resulting in a more vibrant and prosperous New York State. The funding was awarded through the state’s Consolidated Funding Application.

Under REV, New York State spurs clean energy innovation, brings in new investments, and improves consumer choice while protecting the environment and energizing New York’s economy. By unleashing innovation, overcoming markets barriers and empowering communities, New York is pioneering a new statewide approach, giving customers greater opportunities for energy savings, local clean power generation, and enhanced reliability. New Yorkers will benefit by access to a safe, clean and affordable energy infrastructure that creates jobs and provides economic development.