[Read the opposing view to this opinion piece, “Wood Pellets: Don’t Cut and Burn Forests, Preserve Them As Carbon Sinks,” by Janet Sinclair of Concerned Citizens of Franklin County.]
– by Charlie Niebling, Partner, Innovative Natural Resource Solutions
A quiet revolution is taking place across the northeast. Heating with wood is finding broad new acceptance in applications from residential wood pellet stoves and boilers, to institutional and industrial pellet and chip heating of schools, businesses and hospitals.
Nothing new here, you say? Northeasterners have been heating with wood for almost 400 years, and Native Americans long before that. But we are not talking about your grandfather’s wood furnace, or the inefficient outdoor wood boilers that have given wood heating such a black eye.
New technologies that burn wood nearly as cleanly as propane and oil are making steady inroads into the northeastern market. It’s the ability to burn with efficient combustion that could lead to mainstream acceptance. Fully automated pellet systems of all sizes, bulk wood pellet delivery, refined and semi-dried wood chip fuels, and advanced technology boilers with smart emissions controls are making inroads and on the cusp of popular uptake.
[Read the opposing view to this opinion piece, “Wood Pellets: Modern Wood Heating Making Inroads Across Northeast,” by Charlie Niebling of Innovative Natural Resource Solutions]
– by Janet Sinclair, Founding Member, Concerned Citizens of Franklin County
The Franklin and Berkshire Regional Council of Governments (FRCOG and BRCOG), in partnership with Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER), Massachusetts Forest Alliance, Franklin Land Trust, and others have formed a coalition to leverage up to $25 to $30 million of mostly public funds to create a National Forest designation in Western Massachusetts. Claiming ample public input, the project needs state and federal legislation for it to happen, and the FRCOG and BRCOG are in the process of writing the state law, hoping to get it passed in the coming months.
The Mohawk Trail Woodlands Partnership (MTWP) is defined as “A Plan for Forest-Based Economic Development and Conservation.” At this juncture, it is a vaguely defined set of activities with an advisory committee made up largely of commercial forestry interests. The centerpiece of the plan is to pay $5-6 million for a wood pellet manufacturing facility that would take “waste wood” out of the forest, and increase the demand for pellets by using a state funding agency (Massachusetts Clean Energy Center) to pay to install wood pellet boilers in the schools, as well as other buildings and residences.