The U.S. Forest Service recently awarded 10 small businesses and community groups $2.5 million in grants for renewable energy projects. Biomass Magazine said the projects that received funding will expand regional economies and create new jobs.
"These grants help grow new jobs, support clean energy production and improve our local environments, especially in reducing fire threats," said U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. "Communities from Massachusetts to Alaska will benefit from the program this year."
According to the source, the projects will use material taken from forests during wildfire prevention and beetle-killed tree projects. The materials will then be used in bioenergy facilities to produce green energy for heating and electricity. The cost of planning the facilities will be paid from the Woody Biomass Utilization Grant program. In 2012, the program helped treat more than 500,000 acres of forest and 5 million green tons of biomass were removed from woody areas. Those who received the grants last year also created 1,470 jobs.
The utilization grantees included the Chilkoot Indian Association in Haines, Alaska, the Sierra Institute for Community and Environment in Plumas County, Calif., the Narraganset Regional School District in Baldwinville, Mass., and Menominee Tribal Enterprises in Neopit, Wis.