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Energy Market Transformation: One State’s Modern Wood Heating Renaissance

Jul 07, 2014

The modern wood heat industry is thriving in Vermont. The state has seen continued growth in the use of renewable, sustainable energy resources and is considered a national-leader in community-scale wood heat projects.

Widespread adoption of modern wood heating in Vermont schools, public buildings, businesses, and multifamily homes has contributed significantly to this rapid growth. The first wood-chip heated school was established in the state nearly 30 years ago. Today 46 Vermont schools are heated with wood. Over 40 multifamily homes, college campus buildings, and businesses also have operational wood chip and bulk pellet heating systems. In addition to the widespread public sector adoption of biomass thermal energy, over 120 Vermont residences have installed bulk wood pellet fueled boiler systems. The Biomass Energy Resource Center at VEIC has played a key role in catalyzing many of these innovative projects.

Thanks to BERC’s collaboration with state agencies, non-profit organizations, businesses and others, Vermont has the highest concentration of community-scale, local biomass thermal installations in the U.S. Continued growth in the use of local wood resources for heating is anticipated, particularly as the state aims to meet a goal of 90% renewable energy use by 2050.

In addition to facilitating projects in Vermont, BERC is providing expertise and sharing wood heat models for success with other states to further the development of modern wood heating on a national scale. In an interview with Biomass Magazine, Adam Sherman, Manager of BERC at VEIC discussed the organization’s plans for a clean energy future, stating “Vermont will be a proving ground for the build-out of the biomass heating fuel market. What works here can be exported and adapted to the rest of the country.”

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