Vilsack Discusses Projects for Wood-to-Energy and Biomass Utilization

Ag secretary emphasizes tapping into renewable energy opportunities.

Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack emphasized many projects being funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for wood-to-energy and biomass at the Western Governor's Association meeting Monday. Twenty-three projects were chosen from 30 nominated by Forest Service regional offices specifically because they not only support the shared goal of creating innovative sources for energy, but will also help create markets for small diameter wood and low value trees taken out during forest restoration activities.


Vilsack discussed ways to tap into renewable energy opportunities in the West with Western Governors and other senior officials in the Obama Administration. Vilsack says President Obama understands the importance of decreasing the nation's dependence on foreign oil and these projects are doing so no only by advancing the Administration's energy goals, but also stimulating the economy and creating jobs with new industries.


Meanwhile the U.S. Department of Energy and the Western Governors' Association released a joint report by the Western Renewable Energy Zones initiative that takes first steps toward identifying areas in the Western transmission network that have the potential for large-scale development of renewable resources with low environmental impacts. New modeling tools and data have been developed to facilitate interstate collaboration in permitting new multi-state transmission lines.


In May 2008 the Western Governors' Association and DOE launched the Western Renewable Energy Zones initiative to identify those areas in the West with vast renewable resources to expedite the development and delivery of renewable energy to where it is needed. Under the Initiative renewable energy resources are being analyzed within 11 states, two Canadian provinces and areas in Mexico that are part of the Western Interconnection.

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