It's no surprise that fresh produce can be hard to come by in Alaska, where the growing season is short and high energy prices make commercial food operations challenging. A few innovative communities are changing that trend by building greenhouses at schools and heating them with locally sourced woody biomass - creating a compelling chain of local energy generation, fresh food production, and hands-on education. The State recently released a handbook that outlines how to replicate this model, from project conception all the way through understanding biomass options, funding greenhouse operations, and incorporating a suite of educational opportunities. Of course there are also tons of great photos and inspiring case studies.
This April Wisewood Energy and the Quinault Indian Nation kicked off a new design project for a biomass district heating facility in Taholah, Washington. Taholah is situated at the confluence of the Pacific Ocean and the Quinault River, an area rich in forest, river, and ocean resources. However, this area is also experiencing an increasing risk of sea level rise, coastal erosion, and intense storm events, and as such the community of Taholah has decided to relocate to higher grounds. The biomass district heating facility will provide key infrastructure for the relocated community buildings, and will be designed to use hog fuel wood chips sourced from the local area. Scroll down to p.9 for an excerpt on Wisewood's recent site visit to Taholah.
Harney Community Energy is an innovative, first-of-its-kind project in North America. Wisewood Energy has been working with Harney County School District No. 3 and Harney County since 2012 to develop a district energy system that will deliver heat to multiple key community facilities using woody biomass sourced from the surrounding region. The project is widely expected to represent a replicable model for community-scaled economic development that increases energy independence, advances biomass utilization, and supports forest health.
In 2014 it was brought to the District’s attention that perhaps the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self Determination Act funds could be used to upgrade the Center’s infrastructure. In partnership with Clearwater County Economic Development and Wisewood, a biomass energy design-build firm based out of Portland, the District began investigating the potential.
Not long ago, the Blue Mountain Hospital in John Day was consuming over 32,000 gallons of costly heating oil each year. Off the beaten path 150 miles east of Bend, the rural community didn't have the option to use cheaper sources of fuel such as natural gas. That is, until recently.
The new biomass wood pellet system also is whisper quiet, environmentally friendly and, officials said, will save the Ketchikan Gateway Borough money in the long term.
A grant from the U.S Department of Agriculture could enable planners at Oregon State University – Cascades to move closer to achieving net zero energy usage across the future campus by studying the potential of integrating a woody biomass thermal energy system and campus-wide biomass district energy to provide heat to campus buildings.
Today, Bruce Daucsavage has more wood fiber than he knows what to do with. But, it was only a couple of years ago that after running out of timber supply from the nearby national forest for the third time in the past decade, Daucsavage, president of Malheur Lumber Co., decided to close the last sawmill in Grant County located in John Day, Ore.
Ketchikan International Airport is just a few weeks away from switching its heat source to a high-efficiency biomass boiler system.
A Yakima nonprofit that employs the disabled will receive nearly $100,000 in grant money to design a biomass boiler, and both forest managers and local employers stand to benefit. The federal money will help cover the design and engineering of the boiler, a process that is estimated to take about three months.