US Forest Service offers funding for wood energy projects

By Erin Voegele | October 20, 2020

The U.S. Forest Service announced on Oct. 20 it is accepting applications for 2021 Wood Innovations Grants and 2021 Community Wood Energy and Wood Innovation Grants. Approximately $10 million in funding is available.

The 2018 Farm Bill established and authorized funding for the Community Wood Energy and Wood Innovation Program. Grants awarded through the program help fund the capital costs for installing wood energy systems or building an innovative wood product facility.

The funding opportunity is intended for shovel-ready projects, including those that would install a community wood energy system for heating cooling and/or electricity that would replace a system fueled by fossil fuels; purchase and install manufacturing equipment at a mass timber production facility; expand a sawmill to add higher value production lines that incorporate innovative technologies and cost cutting measures; or purchase and install equipment at a new facility to produce renewable natural gas (RNG) or other biofuels from forest residues.

The deadline to submit a proposal for the Community Wood Energy and Wood Innovation Program is Feb. 3. The Forest Service is expected to notify applicants of results in May, with awards made in August.

The Wood Innovations Grant Program supports traditional wood utilization projects, the expansion of wood energy markets, and aims to promote the use of wood as a construction material in commercial buildings.

Eligible projects include those completing requirements in the later stages of commercial construction projects that use wood as a primary building material and in the later stages of wood energy project development to secure financing; developing manufacturing capacity, other necessary wood products infrastructure and markets for wood products that support forest ecosystem restoration; showcasing quantifiable environmental and economic benefits of using wood as a sustainable building material in an actual commercial building and the projected benefits achieved if replicated across the U.S.; establishing statewide wood utilization teams and wood energy teams; developing a cluster of wood energy projects in a geographic area or a specific sector; or overcoming market barriers and stimulating expansion of wood energy in the commercial sector.

The deadline to submit a proposal for the Wood Innovations Grant Program is Jan. 20. Applicants are expected to be notified of results in May with awards made in August.

The Forest Service is scheduled to hold an informational pre-application webinar on both grant opportunities on Nov. 10.

Additional information is available on the Forest Service website.