September 7, 2022
Program Contact: Maura Ross, Wood Energy Coordinator: 304-676-9224
Alliance for Green Heat Contact: John Ackerly, The Alliance for Green Heat
Maryland Advances Biomass Wood Energy Solutions
$25,000 awarded from the Maryland Agricultural Education &
Rural Development Assistance Fund grant to conduct in-person, on-site education efforts
COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Maryland continues to search for ways to develop and expand the state’s existing renewable energy portfolio. Thermal wood energy is beginning to gain traction and attention across the state as a sustainable option to traditional heating fuels such as propane and other fossil fuels. Despite the idea of thermal wood energy being widely known, the newer and advanced large-scale systems installed with efficient cleaning controls are typically not thought of when wood energy is mentioned.
To help show what these systems are and how they operate, as well as speak directly to facilities about their experience with a wood energy system, the Alliance for Green Heat and the Maryland Clean Energy Center have partnered together to organize and host educational tours to learn from other states as well as see where Maryland’s wood energy sector currently stands.
|Maura Ross, project lead for|
wood energy tours in NH & VT
The two tours funded through the Rural Maryland Council grant will take attendees to Vermont and New Hampshire. Attendees will include those who are interested in renewable energy and can make decisions on the future of wood energy in Maryland, such as policymakers, environmental groups, and facility managers who want to make the switch from fossil fuels to renewables as quickly as possible.
Vermont and New Hampshire are seen as the country’s leaders regarding wood energy – heating not only homes, but schools, commercial facilities, an entire town’s public buildings, and even downtown sidewalks! They began the development of their wood energy sector almost twenty years ago and have continually seen the benefits of reducing their energy dependence on fossil fuels and the increasing health of their forests through sustainable management practices resulting from a strong logging sector.
“Tours to New Hampshire and Vermont will enable Maryland stakeholders to meet experts who run the systems and the building owners who pay for far cheaper heat," said John Ackerly, President of the Alliance for Green Heat.
This education-focused grant will also fund a case study, providing a detailed overview of one of the two tours. It will include information on the locations visited, the systems in place, the benefits of wood energy experienced, and the lessons learned from each facility. The information in the case study will help not only those who were unable to attend the tours but be a vital resource for decision makers and facility owners to reference when considering thermal wood energy.
“There are numerous misconceptions regarding wood energy since it not a common energy source anymore and confusion about the difference between sustainable forest management and overharvesting,” states Maura Ross, the wood energy coordinator at the Maryland Clean Energy Center, “but seeing is believing. If we can get those who are passionate about switching over to renewable energy on these tours where they see the environmental benefits themselves and speak with those who work with energy every day, I believe that the opinion of wood energy in the state will change.”
The tours will be hosted between early December and early April, with the case study released before June 2023.
The Educational Tour project is supported, in partnership, by the Alliance for Green Heat and the Maryland Clean Energy Center and funded by the Rural Maryland Council through the Maryland Agricultural Education and Rural Development Assistance Fund. This effort is also supported by the U.S. Forest Service, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, and the Maryland State Wood Energy Team.
The Maryland Clean Energy Center (MCEC) was created in 2008 to encourage the transformation of the energy economy. MCEC works to implement financing solutions that catalyze the growth of business, create jobs, and make clean energy technologies, products and services affordable and accessible for Maryland consumers.
The Alliance for Green Heat promotes modern wood and pellet heating systems as a low-carbon, sustainable and affordable energy solution. The Alliance works to advance cleaner and more efficient residential heating technology, particularly for low and middle-income families.