Colorado Economic Recovery and Accountability

Press Release - Wood-To-Energy Projects Awarded $1 Million

June 11, 2009


Todd Hartman, 303-866-2262,
Myung Oak Kim, 303-947-5708,
Wil Alston 303-866-6323,


Four Colorado projects designed to convert wood waste to energy and energy feedstocks each received grants of $250,000 through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced today.

The projects, located in Grand, Fremont, El Paso and Boulder counties, are each designed to convert wood collected during wildfire mitigation projects into energy - including wood derived from pine-beetle infested regions. The grants will help fund the innovative projects, including installation of woody biomass boilers and the processing of wood waste for a wood pellet facility.

"Wood-to-energy is a key component of our New Energy Economy, and these USDA grants reflect Colorado's national leadership in advancing biofuels and renewable energy," said Gov. Bill Ritter. "These funds provide a boost to innovative businesses developing this technology, and helps restore and manage Colorado's forests and natural resources.

Of the 14 states receiving grants, Colorado was second only to Oregon in the number of projects awarded funding.

"These projects will promote the development of biofuels from wood and help private sector businesses establish a renewable energy infrastructure and accelerate availability in the marketplace," said Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan. "Additionally, hazardous fuels reduction projects utilize biomass from forested lands that, when left untreated, increase wildland fire risks to communities and natural resources."

According to the USDA, the grants align with the Obama administration's interest in advancing innovative energy sources, and may help create markets for beetle-killed trees, small diameter wood and low value trees removed during forest restoration activities. These funds may also help communities and entrepreneurs turn residues from forest restoration activities into marketable energy products.

The Governor's Energy Office has worked with these projects and partners for several years and considers the projects model examples of how Colorado biomass can be used in the New Energy Economy.

USDA grants were awarded to the following:

    Funding will assist the development of a biomass boiler heating system at a prison in Florence, CO.
  • Confluence Energy, LLC
    Funding will assist grinding, hauling, and processing wood for a wood pellet facility.
  • Colorado Springs Utilities
    Funding will support the co-firing of a coal facility with woody biomass.
  • Boulder County Open Space and Parks
    Funding will help establish a biomass collection site and the reinstallation of a biomass heating system.

Projects were nominated by Forest Service regional offices and selected nationally through a competitive basis on objective criteria.

For information about specific projects please contact the Forest Service or visit: