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Amid soaring propane prices, a rising interest in alternatives

 
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While sky-high propane prices are causing hardships for many businesses and homeowners, they’re also helping generate interest in renewable alternatives such as wood, solar and geothermal.

Companies that sell solar thermal, geothermal and wood furnaces are reporting an uptick in phone calls and inquiries over the past few weeks as propane customers in the region suffer through near-record prices and localized shortages. (photo courtesy Solar Skies)

The evidence is only anecdotal at this point, and most said the buzz hadn’t yet translated into new sales, but at least one shop is ramping up production in anticipation of new orders.

Northwest Manufacturing, which makes wood-fired furnaces under the WoodMaster brand, started offering overtime this week to workers at its factory in Red Lake Falls, Minnesota, as it attempts to double production. It also plans to make up to six new hires.

“It’s been just a blur since [three weeks ago],” said Todd Strem, the company’s sales and marketing manager. “It’s definitely affected us in a positive way.”

This is typically a slow time of year for heating system sales, Strem said, but WoodMaster’s dealers are reporting a steady stream of people stopping in to ask about the furnaces. The company’s website traffic has more than doubled in the last month.

At Strandlund Refrigeration Heating & Cooling in Mora, Minnesota, salesman Rod Herwig said they’re fielding more calls than usual from people curious about geothermal systems.

“I can’t say it’s overwhelming, but to be honest, yeah, there’s more interest right now than there has been for a bit,” Herwig said. “And now is usually our quiet time.”

Herwig estimated that they’ve received six or seven phone calls in the past two weeks from people seeking quotes or other information about geothermal systems. During busier months, it’s typically only four or five per month.

It’s too soon to say whether that interest will translate into new sales and installations. Herwig suspects that will depend on what happens to propane price in the coming weeks.

“We’ll know six months from now,” Herwig said.

It’s the same story at Solar Skies Manufacturing in Alexandria, Minnesota. The company manufacturers solar thermal systems for hot water and space heating.

“We can feel the interest level has picked up in the last two weeks,” said CEO Randy Hagen. “It’s too early to convert that into new orders yet, but our quoting level for those types of customers has definitely increased — a lot.”

A solar thermal system won’t entirely eliminate a home or business’s heating bill, but a typical system might cover 65 percent of water heating or 30 percent of space heating.

The price for a system varies significantly depending on the size, features and location, but an average cost for a residential system is around $10,000, Hagen said. Some of that cost can be offset with state and federal incentives.

However, amid a spike in propane prices, the payback time on solar thermal, geothermal, and wood heating systems looks much better today than it did at the start of winter.

Northwest Manufacturing sold a WoodMaster system to a school in northeastern Minnesota that was previously heated with propane. Strem said the original payback time it calculated for the school was around six or seven years.

If propane and wood pellet prices were to stay where they’re at — a big “if” — Strem said the school district could break even on their investment in as little as two years.

The Rural Renewable Energy Alliance, a Minnesota nonprofit that manufactures and sells subsidized solar furnaces to low-income families, isn’t yet sure how the propane pinch will affect its program, but program manager Shannon Wheeler said it certainly underscores its importance.

“It makes that work all the more necessary,” Wheeler said. “Our families that are on propane and also have a solar air heat system … are not going through their propane as quickly and hopefully don’t have to refill with these higher prices.”

How long propane prices stay high will likely determine how much of this winter’s interest in renewable alternatives can be converted into new installations later in the year.

Said Strem: “It’s going to make for an interesting year if this continues.”

Article written by Dan Haugen from Midwest Daily News.

Getting gouged by propane prices?

 

alternative heatingGetting gouged by propane prices? If so, you're not alone. Some 14 million Americans who rely on propane have been shelling out more and more to heat their homes while the strong demand has outpaced the already low inventories, energy officials say.

Now is a better time than ever to switch to alternative energy. Free yourself from the rollercoaster of fluctuating fossil fuel prices.

Don't just take our word for it. Here are some recent articles from around the U.S

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Scott Walker declares state of emergency on propane shortage.

Citing another wave of frigid weather bearing down on Wisconsin and dangerously low supplies of propane, Governor Scott Walker has declared a state of emergency. Walker directed all state agencies "to assist as appropriate" in helping residents deal with the propane shortage, which has sent prices soaring and left some users struggling to find a supplier who will provide fuel.

Nearly 250,000 Wisconsin homes heat with propane, many in rural areas not served by natural gas lines.

The shortage — attributed to a colder-than-normal winter, the shutdown of a key supply pipeline earlier in the season and heavy use of propane by farmers to dry grain last fall — has sent prices for many customers well above $5 a gallon. Read the full article here.

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Midwest faces propane emergency as more cold weather moves in.

Millions of residents in the Midwest and Northeast who rely on propane to heat their homes are facing a severe shortage and spiking prices as another wave of freezing weather heads east. Now, states across the region are deploying emergency resources as a result.

Blame for the propane shortage lies with the wetter-than-usual fall, which meant that farmers used more propane than usual to dry corn crops; an unusually cold winter; and a temporary shutdown of a major pipeline for maintenance this year.

As a result, propane prices are setting new records. The average price of a gallon of residential propane for the week ending Jan. 20 hit $2.96, according to the Energy Information Administration, up 60 cents from mid-October, the highest price ever recorded by the agency. Prices in the Midwest are even higher; on Friday, prices ended at $4.30 a gallon in the Midwest, down from a peak of about $5 a gallon. Read full article here.

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Propane shortage slams farmers.

A propane squeeze caused by January’s bitter cold has put the hurt on Minnesota’s livestock industry, as farmers scramble to find costly fuel to keep their animals warm.

Some turkey growers are being told by suppliers that the propane spigot might get turned off if the cold keeps up over the next week.

Shortage worries are particularly acute in the ­turkey industry, and Minnesota is the nation’s leading turkey-producing state, with about 250 growers.

Fuel suppliers have told some farmers that they have “five days left of propane,” said Steve Olson, executive director of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association. “The big concern is availability.”

Farmers — along with propane users of all stripes — are paying huge premiums for the fuel these days. Wholesale spot prices in Minnesota have gone from about $3.75 per gallon a few days ago to just south of $5 a gallon. Last fall, the propane price was $1.55 per gallon, and most of the run-up since then has occurred this month. Read full article here.

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U.S. propane shortage hits millions during brutal freeze.

Millions of Americans are feeling the pinch of a propane shortage this week as brutal cold exposes the supply vulnerabilities of a fuel that heats homes, schools and businesses across wide swathes of the United States.

Prices of the fuel, a liquefied petroleum gas, have rocketed to all-time highs in Midwestern states, distributors are rationing supplies, and some schools have shut due to a lack of the fuel during this year's second bout of Arctic weather.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has issued emergency orders suspending the limits on the amount of time truck drivers can spend on the road for 10 Midwestern states and 12 Northeastern states, a rare regional order. Read full article here.

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Prolonged cold blast worsens propane shortage across Midwest.

America’s chronic cold is creating a significant propane shortage across the Midwest — leading Wisconsin to become the latest state to declare an energy emergency in advance of more arctic air blasting eastward this week.

Some 14 million Americans who rely on that type of fuel have been shelling out more and more to heat their homes while the strong demand has outpaced the already-low inventories, energy officials say.

Twenty-four states, including Ohio, Illinois and Alabama, have already declared energy emergencies — which helps to loosen transportation rules so that out-of-state truckers can drive longer hours to make needed propane deliveries. Read full article here.

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Now is a great time to research alternative heating products. Take the time to learn about the products available to you and the changes the EPA will be making to the wood burning industry.

NH Introduces Non-Residential Wood Pellet Rebate Program

 

WoodMaster Commercial SeriesNew Hampshire has released a rebate program for commercial and industrial bulk fuel fed wood pellet central heating systems.

Key Components of the Rebate Program:

  • The rebate will cover 30% of the costs of purchase and installation, up to a maximum of $50,000, for investments in non-residential bulk fuel fed wood pellet boilers and furnaces of 2.5 million BTU or less.
  • An additional rebate for 30% of the costs of thermal storage tanks, up to a maximum of $5,000, is also available.
  • The budget for this program is $629,000 for state fiscal year 2014, ending June 30, 2014.
  • The new program also requires rebate recipients to "benchmark" the energy performance of the building that will house the new heating system to demonstrate opportunities for additional efficiency improvements.

Read the full description of the rebate program here.

Read the terms and conditions of the rebate program in Step 1 of the application form here.

T-Mac Smokin' is a big winner using WoodMaster Pellet Grills!

 

WoodMaster Pellet GrillsIn the thick sea of luxury RVs, scrappy trailers, tent awnings and dwindling daylight, I found Tom McIntosh of Appleton. The flapping Green Bay Packers flag at his base camp was a dead giveaway on these 20 acres of concrete in Kansas City.

Tom was here to cook this month but didn’t expect to smoke out almost all competitors at the annual American Royal World Series of Barbecue. No other barbecue contest in the world is bigger.

“Taste and tenderness — you gotta rock those two” to stand out, he explained evasively during the twilight hours of slow-and-low roasting, his third American Royal experience.

This pitmaster for one of 563 teams left as a big winner: runner-up (Reserve Grand Champion) in the 174-team invitational division. Only six points (of a possible 720) separated his T-Mac Smokin BBQ Team from the winner, Cool Smoke of Virginia.

Total points are the sum of four meat scores, and T-Mac Smokin’s beef brisket rated a perfect 180 to earn a second trophy. The team’s pork ribs rated sixth, and with these high rankings came about $8,000 in prize money.

“I’m probably as surprised as you,” Tom admits. “I had to take a good look at those (50-pound) trophies the next morning, to make sure this was real.”

He entered meats from Niemuth’s Southside Market in Appleton. His winning combinations of sauce, injections and marinades “are very secret, even more so now,” but Penzeys Spices and Appleton’s Stone Cellar beer figure into the mix.

“It is a balancing act of all of them working in concert to allow saltiness, heat, sweetness, tanginess and stickiness,” Tom offers. The ultimate goal: “fingerlickability that still allows the meat flavor profile to pull through.”

T-Mac Smokin qualified for the invitational after winning the 2012 Death’s Door Barbecue on Washington Island, sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society.

Tom is a backyard grillmaster who with wife Becky took their hobby to the next level by joining Appleton’s Smokin’ Good BBQ Club around 2009, after son Ian and daughter Danielle became adults.

They have entered 30 barbecue contests in four years. Their 4-year-old Yorkie-Shitsu is named Brisket. On their trailer is an altered Scottish family crest that makes room for a Celtic bull and chicken.

“My neighbors have long appreciated T-Mac barbecue,” Tom admits. So has their congregation at St. Pius X Catholic Church, where he began cooking for church picnics as part of the Holy Smokers.

T-Mac Smokin uses a WoodMaster Pellet Grill, and grill designer Jeff Poole is part of the team’s core. Tom is a grill dealer. Culinary program grad Paul Wenzel offered an assist in Kansas City with two side dishes (baked beans and asparagus spears), both of which contained Nueske’s meats from Wittenberg.

Tom’s American Royal team also entered the open division, finishing 20th of 535 teams overall, and the brisket placed fifth. He describes American Royal, with a grin, as “a barbecue freak show” and “end-of-the-year run for us” after competing in 11 other contests this year.

Nearly 50,000 spectators per day attend the World Series of Barbecue for the smoky aromas, music, fireworks, cooking demos and private parties or just to stroll, gawk, drink and eat. Samples of contestants’ entries are not sold or (officially) fed to the public.

Crowds are shooed away by 2 a.m., but for serious contestants or partiers — who come from as far away as Australia and The Netherlands — it can be an all-night affair to hope for the best while babysitting brisket, pork ribs, chicken and pork butt/picnic/shoulder.

The nonprofit event began in 1980 and happens on the first weekend of October. (kcbs.us, americanroyal.com, 816-221-9800.)

 

Continued Growth in Pellet Fuel Market

 

wood pellets

The outlook for growth in the fuel pellet market is still positive, although it has been tempered some from earlier overly optimistic projections, attendees learned from several speakers at the Pellet Fuels Institute annual conference held July 29-30 in Asheville, N.C.


The U.S. domestic pellet market has tracked the natural gas market relatively closely, Seth Walker, an associate economist with RISI Inc., told attendees. When natural gas prices were trending higher a few years ago, interest in pellets grew, with pellet stove sales peaking at 140,000 per year in 2008. When the natural gas market nosedived the following year, pellet stove sales dropped by more than half, where the market has held. Given that correlation, natural gas price forecasts indicate a positive outlook for the pellet industry as well, Walker said. Natural gas prices appear to have bottomed out and are forecast to steadily rise. He estimated the U.S. currently has about 845,000 wood pellet stoves that create demand for about 2.33 million tons of product annually. He also projected that 50,000 to 60,000 stoves would be added annually in the next few years.

The global market for pellet fuel in 2012 is estimated at 22.4 million metric tons, said Gordon Murray, executive director of the Wood Pellet Association of Canada. Europe is almost self-sufficient in pellet production at about 12 million tons with North American production coming in at half that of Europe and Russia, the next largest.


wood pelletsIn Europe, the United Kingdom is the No. 1 importer bringing in 855,000 metric tons from Canada last year and another 475,000 metric tons from the U.S. While Canadian pellets dominate the U.K. market, the U.S. is the biggest supplier to the Netherlands and Belgium. Denmark and Sweden receive the most pellets from Russia. He predicted that there will be a new surge for industrial pellets when several power conversions come online in 2015 including Drax and Eggborough in the U.K., EON Langerlo in Belgium and Delta in the Netherlands.


While the EU power market has gotten much attention, Murray pointed out that the heating market comprises 40 percent of the EU pellet market, with no subsidy required. “Pellets are 30 percent cheaper than heating oil,” he said. Currently, 90 percent of Canadian exports are being shipped from western ports and going through the Panama Canal, but an effort is underway to organize the smaller pellet producers in eastern Canada to pool resources and product to develop export facilities in the East.


Arnold Dale with Sweden-based Ekman & Co., said such cooperative efforts among smaller producers is also one way for them to handle the sustainability and ENplus standards requirement to move product into the EU. He explained that Ekman, with its main business in pulp trading, started working in the bioenergy space in 2008, supplying both industrial and retail markets. The sustainability requirements for the industrial markets has some questioning whether to focus more on the consumer side, he explained. “The consumer market in the EU has grown into a very stable market, it is no longer seasonal. People prefer to buy pellets in the summer months.”


The annual increase each year in the EU has hovered around 700,000 tons of pellets for the past few years, Dale said, but is projected to exceed 1 million tons in 2013, based on the sales of boilers and stoves. Italy is showing the most rapid growth currently, having added more than 1 million pellet stoves in recent years. Consumption is expected to exceed production in both Austria and Germany this year, which will add to import demand.


Amanda Lang, senior consultant with Forisk Consulting LLC, closed out the two-day conference with an analysis of projected demand from announced bioenergy projects in the U.S. No advanced biofuels were included as yet, she said, because none had met the company’s criteria for viability, as did only half of the proposed pellet facilities. The criteria included such factors as the use of known technology and project financing, among others. When potential demand is totaled, she said, “the forest products industry will continue to be the vast majority of the forestry market and bioenergy will comprise about 9 percent.”

2012 Census Shows Wood Heating Continues Growth Streak

 

US Census mapAccording to recently released U.S. Census statistics, 63,566 more families used wood or pellets as a primary heating fuel in 2012 compared to 2011, which amounts to an increase of 2.6 percent, making wood again the fastest growing heating fuel in America.

From 2000 to 2010, wood and pellet home heating grew by 34 percent, faster than any of the other heating fuels, including solar and natural gas. Oil and propane use declined between 2000 and 2010, and the decline continued in 2012.

Today, 2.1 percent of Americans use wood or pellets as their primary heating fuel, up from 1.6 percent in 2000. An additional 7.7 percent of U.S. households use wood as a secondary heating fuel, according to the 2009 EIA Renewable Energy Consumption Survey.

Nearly 2.5 million households use wood as a primary heating fuel, making it, by far, the dominant residential source of renewable energy in the United States. In comparison, only about 500,000 of U.S. homes have solar panels and less than 50,000 use solar thermal heating. Solar thermal heating dropped by 2 percent in 2012 from 2011, according to the new Census numbers.

The states with the biggest growth in wood heat from 2011 to 2012 are Delaware (35.1 percent), Rhode Island (29.6 percent), Nebraska (24.6 percent), New Hampshire (18.5 percent) and New Jersey (17.7 percent). However, other states experienced declines. Among the important wood heating states of Washington, Oregon and California, the decline was very small, but there were more significant declines in Illinois (5.2 percent), Idaho (5 percent) and Colorado (4.8 percent). Over a 12-year period, the prevalence of wood heating has increased, often very significantly, in every state except Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida and Hawaii.

2014 Winter Outlook, According to the Farmers' Almanac

 

WoodMasterI generally do not consider myself as an old fashioned individual. Here at WoodMaster we believe we are open minded and constantly researching, developing and on the lookout for new and creative ways to use alternative, natural energy. But when it comes to the Farmers’ Almanac and the Old Farmer’s Almanac I do tend to be old fashioned. I suppose it’s from being raised in the Midwest in a farming community. Of course a main topic was always the weather and how it will affect the crops and of course the Almanac’s were always brought into that conversation. Even today when you go to the local coffee shop you hear the conversation center around the forecast that the Almanac’s have predicted.

Whether you read or believe in the Almanac’s is totally your choice. Personally this is one old habit I am not going to break. I have come to trust what they say because it at least gives me an idea of what to expect and if I happen to be a little over prepared because of it that’s OK.

What are they saying for this coming winter? Well the Farmers’ Almanac is using words like “piercing cold” along with “bitterly cold” and “biting cold.” Take a look at their map of the U.S. and you will get the idea.

Almanac

As for the Old Farmer’s Almanac according to Janice Stillman, editor “This winter is shaping up to be a rough one.” She goes on to say “Sweaters and snow shovels should be unpacked early and kept close by throughout the season.”

What I’m getting out of this is get ready for what may become a long cold winter and for those of you that like to play in the winter wonderlands’ you should have the snow cover to really enjoy yourselves. Here in the Midwest I’m sure we will be enjoying great skiing, snowmobiling and ice fishing if this forecast is accurate.

It’s still early enough to take a look at how you are going to heat this winter and if you need help in what’s available and how you can become oil independent just give us a call and WoodMaster can assist you. WoodMaster furnaces keep winter's harshest chill away. Tell old man winter to visit your neighbor.

PA's Caledonia State Park installs Flex Fuel heating system.

 
WoodMaster Flex FuelCaledonia State Park is the first Pennsylvania State Park to go green with a WoodMaster Flex Fuel heating system.   WoodMaster is one of the leading manufacturers of indoor/outdoor wood boilers that meet EPA Phase II standards.   They have teamed up with European technologies and are now manufacturing the Flex Fuel in Minnesota. 

Craig Doyle, WoodMaster’s local distributor and owner of Doyle’s Woodstoves in Greencastle, PA, installed the Flex-Fuel-60 Series boiler and then invited WoodMaster’s technical representative from their Minnesota headquarters to come to Caledonia State Park to demonstrate this new boiler installation and to train Department of Conservation & Natural Resources (DCNR) staff in its proper start-up, operation, and maintenance.  The system will be used as the primary heat source for the Park’s maintenance facility and the Pennsylvania Forest Fire Museum located next door. 

The goal of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) is to use wood heat to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels and for energy diversity.  The Flex-Fuel-60 Series boiler is a downdraft gasification system capable of burning cordwood or wood pellets.   Wood pellets offer low and stable pricing, compared to fossil fuels which tend to be more price volatile.  An 8.5 ton pellet bin has been installed to automatically feed pellets to the boiler.  The bulk delivery of wood pellets will come from locally produced sources.  The option to burn cordwood gives the Park the flexibility to use hazardous trees removed along the Park’s roads and trails, thus providing visitor safety as well as conserving forest resources. 

Downdraft gasification technology ensures that the wood fuel will be burned virtually smoke-free while displacing the pollutants produced from burning conventional fuel heating oil.  During the combustion process, the heat produced will be captured in four 285 gallon insulated hot water storage tanks.  That hot water will be circulated throughout the buildings for heat.  Hot water thermal storage helps ensure that the wood boiler will not smoke like conventional outdoor wood stoves.  Instead, burn wood fuels with a hot fire and capture as much heat energy in hot water storage tanks, avoiding the need to damper-down the combustion process for a smaller or “cooler” fire.  When the buildings demand heat, thermal energy will be there in the hot water storage tanks.  

The Central Pennsylvania Conservancy (CPC) was a great partner during the installation of this new heating system.  As a “Friend of the Park”, Anna Yelk, Executive Director for the CPC, administered a $50,000 grant received from the USDA Forest Service for the purchase and installation of the WoodMaster Flex Fuel heating system.  Paula DeVore, Park Manager for the DCNR Bureau of State Parks - Resource Management and Planning Division and Michael Palko, Biomass Energy Specialist for the DCNR, Bureau of Forestry, played key roles in working with the CPC and WoodMaster to coordinate this project.  The CPC’s mission is to conserve natural resources and open spaces for the benefit of current and future generations through land acquisition, conservation easements, education and outreach in the Central Pennsylvania Region.  Visit their website at www.centralpaconservancy.org.

WoodMaster's Flex Fuel 60 Series boiler fit all the requirements for the grant.  It is qualified and is currently the cleanest product listed on the EPA Burn Wise site. It is reliable, dependable, and offers full automation and self-cleaning features.  Burning wood produces no net increase in greenhouse gas emissions, reduces U.S. dependence on foreign oil, and brings jobs and revenue back into our local economies.

Doyle’s Woodstoves LLC, owned and operated by Craig and Diana Doyle in Greencastle, PA, offers a full line of WoodMaster products such as indoor/outdoor wood boilers, whole house pellet furnaces, pellet grills, and small commercial boilers for greenhouses and poultry/hog farms.  Contact Doyle’s Woodstoves LLC at doyleswoodstoves@gmail.com.

European biomass technology manufactured in Minnesota: An interview with WoodMaster

 
Forced air new logo resized 600Joel Haskard with CERT's had a chance to chat with WoodMaster co-founder and President Chuck Gagner about their biomass boilers and furnaces, and the industry here in Minnesota. Read on to hear what he had to say!

Joel Haskard: How do you see the health of the biomass industry here in Minnesota and nationally as well?

Chuck Gagner: I feel over the past couple years the residential market took a dip due to the economy and low propane prices. This is making a good rebound now. A strong interest recently is the farm industry: poultry and turkey growers, greenhouses, etc. Wood pellets offer low and stable pricing, compared to fossil fuels which tend to be more volatile. In fact, pellet prices are pretty much the same as they were ten years ago when adjusting for inflation. A good way to understand the price benefits of pellet fuel is to compare it against other heating fuels. See for yourself here. Wood chips can range from $3-$5 per million Btu, being the most cost effective source of heat.

Joel: Many of the WoodMaster products seem to be based on European technology but are manufactured right here in Minnesota. What attracted you to these specific kinds of boilers?

Chuck: Having worked with EPA for several years on a test method for our product and understanding the low emissions levels that were being discussed, we felt that the technology that Europe offers is very advanced and is a more sure way to meet the EPA projected emission levels. Another positive was that the product was time tested and proven for durability and reliability. These were the main reasons for teaming up with European technology and building the product right here in Minnesota.

Joel: How do they perform with the EPA guidelines?

Chuck: The WoodMaster Flex Fuel Series is Phase II EPA qualified and is currently the cleanest product listed on the EPA’s Burnwise website. This clearly explains that the technology within the furnace is extremely advanced.

Joel: There was one specific unit that seemed to have real potential for poultry, turkey, and greenhouses. Could you tell us more?

Chuck: The WoodMaster Commercial Series pellet and/or chip hot air furnace is a great fit for poultry and turkey farms and greenhouses. The size range is .5 million – 1 million Btu/hour. Using this hot air furnace would give the quickest return on investment. This is a much dryer heat than, for example, propane and has a very positive effect on the growing conditions.

Joel: Have any of these units been installed here in Minnesota?

Chuck: Currently a small amount of units have been installed in Minnesota, larger amounts in other states. The results are extremely positive and we are anticipating a lot more units to be installed in the upcoming months.

Joel: Do you have any final thoughts you would like to share with folks interested in biomass?

Chuck: I would like to encourage people to look closely at the new biomass technology that is offered. Great features, primarily with pellet and chip boilers and furnaces, include being fully automatic, self-cleaning, reliable and dependable. Burning wood produces no net increase in greenhouse gas emissions while reducing U.S. dependency on foreign oil supplies and brings jobs and revenue back into our local economy.

Want to learn more? You can see photos below from a recent NW CERT tour of Northwest Manufacturing, makers of WoodMaster products. You can also click here to visit their website.

Mass. Residents and Businesses to save big on pellet boilers.

 
pellet The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center announced that it is launching a $475,000 incentive program that will help residents install high-efficiency wood pellet boilers in their homes or small businesses.

The grants in this program will be given out on a first-come, first-served basis. Here are some qualifications:

-The installed boiler or furnace must be used in a year-round residence or small business where the building occupant pays into the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust.

-All applicants will need to provide MassCEC with a copy of an electric bill for the project site at the time of application so that MassCEC can verify eligibility.

 -Property owners may submit an application for a property that they own, even if it is not their primary residence or place of business, however the project site must be occupied year round.

 -Grants can be combined with any other local, state or federal incentive, and applicants are encouraged to do this where possible.

Grant amounts will be determined on the following basis, with further details available in the program manual, which can be found below.

Base Grant

Value

Wood-Pellet boiler and furnace central heating units (bulk storage required)

$7,000

Adders

 

Automated conveyance of fuel

$3,000

Thermal storage

$2,000

Solar thermal hybrid system

$1,000

Moderate Income Adder OR Moderate Home Value Adder

$2,000

Maximum Grant

$15,000


It’s possible to get back up to $15,000, though rebates will begin at $7,000 and the average is anticipated to be between $10,000 and $12,000. According to the MassCeC, new wood pellet boilers typically cost around $20,000, fully installed.

Massachusetts residents can learn more about the program, download the program guide and application by visiting the Clean Energy Center website.

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