Thursday, January 20, 2011

Task Force on Wood Heat Incentives

The Alliance for Green Heat is pleased to announce the formation of the Task Force on Wood Heat Incentives. This Task Force will look at the environmental, social and energy impacts of incentive programs to buy and change-out wood and pellet stoves. The Task Force, which is still in formation, is funded in part by a grant from the USDA’s Wood Education and Resource Center.

The Task Force will provide input on the crafting of a Toolkit on wood heat incentive programs designed to assist policy makers in making sound wood heat decisions. The Task Force will be comprised of 10- 12 representatives from the non-profit sector, stove manufacturers, policy-makers, forestry experts and others. Some of the key issues the task force will address are, 1. What should be the priorities of a wood stove rebate program (air quality improvement, energy efficiency, reduction of greenhouse gasses, low income assistance, etc)? 2. What sort of biomass appliances should be incentivized? 3. How important are incentive programs to the biomass industry and to consumers? 4. What can we learn from incentive programs for solar, wind and geothermal? 5. Which are the next states most likely to initiative incentive programs? On how to participate or contribute to this process, please contact Tatiana Butler at

The current task force members are:

John Crouch

Director of Public Affairs


John has worked for 20 years on Air Quality and Energy issues for the North American trade association that represents all the manufacturers and retailers of Hearth Products, and the trade association of Pellet fuel producers, the PFI. John has worked with state, local, and tribal communities as they work to meet their clean air goals, and still continue to use wood heat. For several years he has worked with USEPA and others on programs to encourage woodstove change out programs. Most recently he was the industry lead on a ‘whole town’ change out in Libby Montana, which involved replacing all the woodstoves in the town in a 3-year period. John resides in Sacramento, California.

Dan Henry

Chief Technical Officer

Hearth & Home Technologies

Dan Henry, chief technical officer for Hearth and Home Technologies, is a 30-year veteran of the hearth industry, Henry was the co-founder of Aladdin Steel Products in Colville, Wash., where he invented the Quadra-Fire® line of wood and pellet burning hearth products. Aladdin was acquired by Hearth & Home Technologies in 1998 and since that time, Henry has held leadership positions in research and development and advanced technologies for the company. Henry is the chairman of the Government Affairs Committee for the Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association. He is on the board of directors of the Pellet Fuel Institute (PFI) and co-chairs the PFI Fuel Standards Committee. He is a member of Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty’s Clean Energy Technology Collaborative, and is involved in the advisory committee for Washington State’s “Burn Smart, Burn Clean” campaign under the auspices of the Washington State Department of Ecology.

Steve Nadel

Executive Director

American Council for Energy-Efficient Economy

Steve has been at ACEEE for 20 years serving as Deputy Director of the organization and Director of ACEEE’s Utilities and Buildings programs prior to his promotion to Executive Director in 2001. Steve has worked in the energy efficiency field for 30 years and has over 100 publications on energy-efficiency subjects. He has testified ten times before Congress on energy efficiency subjects and also testified before multiple state legislatures. He was a major contributor to national energy legislation passed by Congress. His current research interests include utility-sector energy efficiency programs and policies, state and federal energy and climate change policy, and appliance and equipment efficiency standards. He has a M.S. in Energy Management from the New York Institute of Technology, and a M.A. in Environmental Studies and B.A. in Government from Wesleyan University in Connecticut.

Charlie Niebling
New England Wood Pellet
BTEC Chairman

Charlie Niebling is General Manager with New England Wood Pellet LLC, the largest manufacturer of wood pellet fuel in the northeastern US. He is responsible for wood procurement for the company’s three plants, marketing, corporate communications, and government and public affairs. From 1997 to 2005, Mr. Niebling was vice president for policy and land management with the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, a non-profit land conservation and environmental advocacy organization. Prior to assuming this position, Mr. Niebling was a consultant for two years in the firm Innovative Natural Resource Solutions, specializing in natural resource policy, research, advocacy and public relations for corporate, government and non-profit clients. From 1987 to 1995, Mr. Niebling served as executive director of the New Hampshire Timberland Owners Association, the state’s forest landowner and forest industry trade organization. From 1984 to 1987 he worked as a research biologist with the U.S. Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Forest & Range Experiment Station in Berkeley, CA. Mr. Niebling holds forestry degrees from the University of Vermont (BS) and the Pennsylvania State University (MS). Mr. Niebling is a licensed professional forester.

Jon Strimling

President & CEO

Jon is the President of and has been in the wood pellet industry for more than 15 years, with experience in manufacturing and distribution. His vision was to make getting pellets from the mill to the customer more efficient and affordable, and thus was born. Jon is from Massachusetts, and he attended MIT’s Sloan School, where he earned an MS in Management and Engineering. Jon recently completed a 62-mile charity bike ride, and he loves spending time with his wife, son, and daughter.

Al Steele

Physical Scientist/Forest Products Specialist

USDA Forest Service

Al Steele is a Physical Scientist/Forest Products Specialist for the USDA Forest Service, Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry. Located in Morgantown, West Virginia, Al works to support the integration of utilization in Forest Service stewardship, urban forestry, and forest health programs. In collaboration with state agencies, industry, non-governmental organizations, academia and others, Al is often called upon to help develop strategic solutions to a wide array of issues impacting the sustainable use of forest resources. Recent efforts include examining the role of ecosystem services as a means to improve the viability of forest land ownership, methods to address the spread of invasive species via firewood, developing strategies to improve the ability of forest products manufacturers to create jobs and remain internationally competitive, and providing syntheses of information regarding rapidly evolving technical and policy issues associated with biomass energy development, lifecycle assessment, and related issues. Prior to joining the Forest Service, Al’s previous experiences include working for industry and Native American tribes. His educational background includes degrees in forestry, engineering, and an MBA.