BACKGROUND ON THE NH WOOD ENERGY COUNCIL
The use of wood biomass for heating, cooling, process energy and electricity production has increased in New Hampshire for several years. Expanding the use of this renewable source of energy in NH is not only possible but beneficial when done within the capacity of the State’s forest resources. Continued expansion of the use of wood for energy requires increased education about forest resource availability and the use of the most efficient and modern fully automated wood to energy technologies.
Opportunities to use wood energy to replace fossil fuels can provide increased economic benefits to all residents and businesses in New Hampshire and move the state towards the State’s goal of using 25% Renewable Energy by 2025. Increased interaction and collaboration by those interested in the sustainable use of the State’s forest resources to provide the most environmental, economic and social benefits from the forest will help New Hampshire realize this renewable energy goal.
Nationally, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has directed the U.S. Forest Service to increase its wood to energy efforts as part of that Agency’s continuing focus on building a forest restoration economy connected to the management of all lands. By placing a strong emphasis on developing renewable wood energy while restoring the nation’s forests, USDA strives to create and retain sustainable rural jobs, conserve forests, and address societal needs.
For these reasons the NH State Forester and the U.S. Forest Service created the NH Wood Energy Council. This team of people includes individuals, organizations, NH businesses, industry associations and non-profits interested in the sustainable use of forest resources, development of renewable energy alternatives - from regional and community agencies sustaining local economies and meeting social needs, and from State and Federal agencies interested in maintaining and expanding the economic benefits from the state’s forest resources.
The NH Wood Energy Council serves as a national pilot, testing and refining tools to encourage more use of wood for energy and methods in preparation for future combined State and USDA Forest Service wood to energy efforts. As such, our plan is that results be quick and replicable. All lessons learned, significant outcomes and results, relevant data, and information products will be identified, compiled, and distributed to interested parties.
The U.S. Forest Service has provided financial and technical resources to support the work of the NH Wood Energy Council. The NH Sustainable Energy Association (NHSEA) assumed stewardship of the Wood Energy Council in January 2017 from the North Country Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D).