September 11, 2013
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SHAHEEN ANNOUNCES $250,000 GRANT TO SUPPORT BIOMASS ENERGY
Grant to the North Country Resources Conservation and Development Council will support development of wood energy initiatives in New Hampshire
(Washington, D.C.) -U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) announced today that a $250,000 grant has been awarded to the North Country Resources Conservation and Development Council (NCRCDC) from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service's Statewide Wood Energy Teams Program. The grant will support the expanded use of wood energy in low-income residential housing as well as New Hampshire Wood Energy Council's expansion efforts in non-profit hospitals, public schools and public facilities in disadvantaged communities. In July, Shaheen urged USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack to support the NCRCDC grant application.
"Boosting wood energy could revitalize New Hampshire's forest products industry and also help reduce long-term heating costs across our state," said Shaheen. "New Hampshire spends $790 million annually on home heating oil right now, but community-scale use of wood biomass energy will help keep that money in in local economies. This grant is a solid investment in those efforts."
"New Hampshire is becoming one of the nation's leaders in utilizing wood biomass, our home grown renewable resource, to gain energy independence from heating oil and propane. The grant award titled, 'Expand Institutional and Community Scale Wood Biomass Thermal Energy in NH', will provide information, education, and technical services to NH communities and institutions and also to builders, engineers, financial service providers, local energy committees and others to explore and implement wood biomass thermal energy projects. This effort will demonstrate the value of this energy source to NH residents, and our forest resource," said Rick DeMark, Executive Director North Country Resource Conservation & Development (RC&D) Area Council, Inc.
New Hampshire currently relies on petroleum for home heating more so than all but one other state. The cost associated with petroleum heating is particularly draining on low-income rural communities where energy costs comprise a higher share of household spending. New Hampshire is also, however, the second most heavily forested in the nation, and increasing the use of wood biomass for thermal energy could help revitalize New Hampshire's forest products industry while helping communities reduce long-term energy costs.