Smethport Web – by Nathan Muller
The USDA Forest Service has committed $75,000 in grant money to help fund the feasibility study and business plan for the woody biomass Combined Heat and Power (CHP) facility in Smethport. The Forest Service and two previous grants bring the total preliminary funding for the project to $150,000.
The grant is provided through the U.S. Forest Service Wood Education and Resource Center located in Princeton, WV, and is administered by the agency’s Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry organization.
The selection of Smethport for this grant was based on a number of factors, including consideration of whether the project could encourage the adoption of new technology to improve competitiveness and profitability, improve the health of hardwood forests, and increase the use of woody biomass for domestic energy use.
Ross Porter, who co-chairs the Smethport Woody Biomass Leadership Team, said the Forest Service grant will enable the best team of experts to be hired for putting together the foundation studies and documentation that will get the CHP demonstration project off the ground and attract other sources of funding for design and construction.
“We are very pleased that the Federal government thinks highly of our CHP project and is willing to back up this view with a generous grant,” Porter said. “With this grant, Smethport is ready to take the first steps toward achieving energy independence.”