$41 Million in Grants Announced to Support Wood Products and Renewable Wood Energy

timberImage by Thomas B.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service recently announced it will offer $41 million through the 2023 Wood Innovations Grant and 2023 Community Wood Grant programs to spark innovation and create new markets for wood products and renewable wood energy. These grants intend to expand wood product use and strengthen emerging wood energy markets, supporting sustainable forest management, particularly in areas of high wildfire risk.

“With the support of the Inflation Reduction Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, USDA is carrying out the Biden-Harris Administration’s mission to support rural, forest-dependent communities while fighting climate change and protecting our natural resources,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

“These grant programs provide opportunities for communities and businesses to develop innovative uses and markets for wood, a renewable and economical resource,” said Forest Service Chief Randy Moore. “Previous Wood Innovations Grants are making a difference across the country, and we are pleased to continue supporting wood use ingenuity that helps our communities and forests.”

The application deadline for both grant programs is Thursday, March 23, 2023, at 5 p.m. local time. Applications may be submitted via email to the Forest Service Regional Wood Innovations coordinator listed in the application instructions.

Not only are these grants helping support local economies by expanding the potential of wood products and wood energy, they are also helping address critical issues like climate change. By finding new uses and expanding current uses for wood products and energy made from materials removed from unhealthy, overgrown forests, we can restore forests to health, reduce wildfire risk, fight climate change and sustain local economies.

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The Wood Innovations Grant Program makes funding available to expand traditional wood use projects, advance wood energy markets, and promote wood use in commercial building construction. This Request for Proposals focuses on the program’s market development goals to reduce hazardous fuels and improve forest health on national forests and other forest lands, reduce the costs of forest management, and promote economically strong and environmentally healthy communities.

Eligible project examples include:

  • Architectural and engineering designs, cost analyses, and permitting to secure financing for commercial wood construction or wood energy projects development.
  • Establishing or increasing wood products manufacturing to support forest restoration.
  • Showcasing environmental and economic benefits of wood as a sustainable commercial building material to encourage growth in the industry.
  • Establishing statewide wood use teams or wood energy teams.
  • Developing wood energy projects that use residues from wood products or woody biomass.
  • Developing commercial woody biomass and wood product industrial parks.
  • Overcoming market barriers to stimulate wood energy expansion.
  • Purchasing wood processing equipment to create markets supporting forest management.

The Community Wood Grant Program funds shovel-ready projects to install thermally led community wood energy systems or build innovative wood product facilities to support healthy forests and stimulate local economies by expanding renewable wood energy and innovative wood products manufacturing capacity.

Eligible project examples include:

  • Community wood heating, cooling, or electricity systems that replace fossil fuels.
  • Purchase and installation of manufacturing equipment at a mass timber production facility.
  • Expanding sawmills with innovative technologies, cost cutting measures and higher value production lines.
  • Equipment purchase and installation at new facilities producing forest products biofuels.
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To apply for either grant, applicants must be registered with the System for Award Management (SAM). Applications should show a clear benefit to underserved or historically marginalized people, communities, and the forests they value. For-profit entities, state and local governments, Indian Tribes, school districts, non-profit organizations, higher education institutions, public utilities, and fire and conservation districts are eligible to apply.

More information is available at the Forest Service Wood Innovations website or at grants.gov.

2023 Wood Innovations Funding Opportunity: www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=345548

2023 Community Wood Energy and Wood Innovation Program: www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=345549

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