Oregon/Washington Biomass and Bioenergy
Oregon's abundant forests provide great potential to generate renewable energy from woody biomass. Wood-to-energy projects can support forest restoration and stewardship, expand economic opportunities, and encourage greater energy independence that benefits rural communities across the state.
Oregon Wood Energy Cluster Pilot Project
Oregon recently received the nation's first grant to support a Wood Energy Cluster Pilot Project. This effort will help develop small clusters of projects that compliment current forest restoration activities. The projects can provide heat and power to schools, hospitals, commercial buildings and industrial facilities. In the coming months, the team will work with collaborative partners to identify and promote clusters of potential projects focused on forest restoration and biomass use in central, southern, and northeast Oregon. Projects that participate will be eligible to receive technical assistance and resources to assist with evaluation and early stage development. Lessons learned during the process will also be collected and disseminated to interested parties to serve as a model for future wood-to-energy efforts in Oregon and in states across the nation. The Oregon Wood Energy Cluster Pilot Project is a cooperative effort between the USDA Forest Service, Oregon Department of Energy, Oregon Department of Forestry, Sustainable Northwest, and the BLM to explore and evaluate these opportunities for the benefit of rural Oregon communities.
Memorandum of Understanding with the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs
The BLM and U.S. Forest Service signed an agreement with the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs in January 2006 that could create dozens of new jobs on the economically depressed reservation. The agreement, which spans 20 years, creates a commitment to a long-term fuel supply for the Tribes' biomass project which has been several years in the planning stages. Specifically, the agreement calls for the BLM and the Forest Service to do forest thinning and management that would provide biomass fuel for a biomass plant on 8,000 acres annually near or adjacent to the Warm Springs Reservation. For the Tribes, the agreement represents a crucial piece of what is essentially a three-legged stool. The other two legs are an agreement with a utility to purchase the power they produce and money to finance construction of the biomass plant.