Idaho School District to Switch to Biomass Fuel

November 16, 2005

Voters in Idaho's panhandle overwhelmingly approved an $8.6 million bond issue on November 1st, allowing the Kellogg School District to convert its boilers to new high-efficiency units fueled with wood byproducts. The school district will partially fund the project with a $380,000 grant from the U.S. Forest Service's "Fuels for Schools" program. According to the program's Web site, it started with a pilot project in Darby, Montana, and two more Montana projects were expected to be operating last year. Feasibility studies have been performed for five additional school districts in Montana and three in Idaho, including the Kellogg School District. See the Fuels for Schools program Web site and the Kellogg School District Web site pages on the vote and the project.

The Forest Service is also providing at least $4 million in grants for projects that increase the use of woody biomass from or near national forest lands. The funds aim to make use of small-diameter and low-value trees from forest thinning projects by turning them into either marketable forest products or energy. Pre-applications must be postmarked December 1st and received by December 8th. See the Forest Service Web site.