Posts Tagged ‘economic development’

Greetings all,
At the conclusion of this year’s Agricultural Biomass Heating Seminar in Saratoga Springs, I had the pleasure of announcing the pending release of funds to support a “state-of-the-science” review of grass energy in Vermont and the Northeast. Here are the details:

The Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund (VSJF) is seeking proposals from individuals, consulting firms or organizations to conduct a state-of-the-science review of grass energy in Vermont and neighboring states and establish the next step(s) to accelerate the commercialization of grass energy in the region and specifically in Vermont.

Over the past few years, a number of projects in Vermont and the Northeast have led to a body of knowledge on growing, processing and using grass for energy. However, this opportunity has not fully developed into a marketable option for growers, landowners, fuel processors and dealers, equipment manufacturers and vendors, nor homeowners or communities. There are still some uncertainties around the viability of using grass for energy, and as a result some are hesitant to move forward with grass energy plantations or system installations that will support grass combustion.

At this time, VSJF would like to assess the current state of knowledge and identify the remaining critical questions that need to be answered in order to commercialize this opportunity. To review the complete Scope Of Work relating to this RFP, and the information needed to apply, please visit the VSJF website at: http://www.vsjf.org/news/72/request-for-proposals-grass-energy-in-vermont


After reviewing the RFP, if you have questions please email us at: vtbiofuels”at”vsjf.org


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As many readers of this blog know, Governor Cuomo has restructured the way that New York State is going about the business of economic development. Some of you may have participated in the development of regional economic development plans through one of the ten Regional Economic Development Councils (REDCs). If this is new to you, learn more about the initiative at: http://nyworks.ny.gov/

Each REDC had to submit a five-year Strategic Plan to the State by November 14. A quick perusal of the different regions’ draft plans as of 11/10/2011 does not indicate much mention of the role of biomass (and grass biomass in particular) in the State’s economic development future. A notable exception is the draft plan for the North Country Region. I would encourage you to review your region’s plan to see how biomass has been treated.

The emphasis of the REDC initiative is, of course, job creation through the funding of priority projects – those that most closely conform to the goals and priorities of each Regional Council. Yet the regional plans are also supposed to look ahead and provide guidance on those projects and developments that promise to bear fruit in the near and long term. This is where renewable energy from grass biomass crops fits in. As I and others have pointed out in previous blogs, a well-conceived research and development plan for grass energy that leads to full-scale commercialization is essential.

Perhaps the best home for such a research and development plan will be the Biomass Heating Roadmap for which a Request for Proposals (NYSERDA RFP#2329) is currently on the street. When the Roadmap is completed, I would like to see it integrated with both the REDC plans and the New York State Climate Action Plan. I hope that the topics covered in this piece will be addressed at a special agricultural biomass session preceding the Northeast Biomass Heating Expo next March in Saratoga Springs, New York. This an exciting time for grass energy but we all must diligently participate in these opportunities to set agendas and influence policy if we expect to make significant progress.

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