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USDA Forest Service Announces Investments in Wood Energy and Wood Innovation

Washington, -

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service today announced it will award a total of $1.5 million to seven rural communities through a new Community Wood Energy and Wood Innovation grant program.

Made possible through the 2018 Farm Bill, the new program will help to fund the costs of installing wood energy systems and building innovative wood product facilities in rural communities nationwide. Awardees from five states will use locally sourced wood to reduce energy costs and fossil fuel use while supporting local forest management.

“The Forest Service is taking advantage of this new program to invest in rural communities motivated to convert leftovers from their local sawmills or forestry operations into renewable wood energy,” said Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen. “The communities will save on energy costs and enhance energy resilience while sustainably managing their forests. These infrastructure investments immediately create permanent jobs for rural Americans determined to keep their communities vibrant and self-sufficient.”

In addition to the funds awarded through the new grant program, awardees will collectively leverage an additional $3.4 million in matching funds. Together the seven communities are projected to save more than $250,000 a year by using locally supplied, renewable wood energy. Most of these projects also reduce hazardous fuels and are close to national forests. 

The new program funds wood energy facilities from those in small office buildings to large sawmills and other industrial operations. These facilities are typically manufacturing or processing plants, including sawmills, that make diverse products like building components, such as mass timber and other innovative products made from low-value or low-quality wood.


Community Wood Energy and Wood Innovations grants

Grant Recipient

City, State

Icy Straits Lumber and Milling, Inc.

Hoonah, AK

·     Establish climate-controlled working space to manufacture wood products.

Native Village of Kluti-Kaah

Copper Center, AK

·     Heat four tribal community buildings with one central system.  

Limington Lumber

East Baldwin, ME

·     Generate electricity in addition to heat for sawmill operations. 

City of Middle River Community Center

Middle River, MN

·     Heat 45,000 square-foot community center.

Iron Triangle, LLC

John Day and Seneca, OR

·     Produce process heat for forest products manufacturing operations in two locations.

Vaagen Timbers, LLC

Coleville, WA

·     Generate process heat to dry lumber for cross-laminated timber.

Washington State Department of Corrections

Olympia, WA

·     Establish district heating and hot water supply for 103,000 square-foot prison.


For more information about the Community Wood Energy and Wood Innovation grant program, visit