Supporting Community-Driven Sustainable Bioenergy Projects

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2012 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$75,000
2013 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$75,000
Fund Source
Environment & Natural Resources Trust Fund
Recipient
Dovetail Partners, Inc.
Recipient Type
Non-Profit Business/Entity
Status
Completed
Start Date
July 2011
End Date
June 2013
Activity Type
Analysis/Interpretation
Education/Outreach/Engagement
Planning
Counties Affected
Cook
St. Louis
Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2011, First Special Session, Chp. 2, Art.3, Sec. 2, Subd. 07
Appropriation Language

$75,000 the first year and $75,000 the second year are from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with Dovetail Partners, Inc., in cooperation with the University of Minnesota to assess feasibility, impacts, and management needs of community-scale forest bioenergy systems through pilot studies in Ely and Cook County and to disseminate findings to inform related efforts in other communities.

2012 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$75,000
Direct expenses
$75,000
Number of full time equivalents funded
0.98
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

Click on "Final Report" under "Project Details".

Measurable Outcome(s)

Click on "Final Report" under "Project Details".

Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2011, First Special Session, Chp. 2, Art.3, Sec. 2, Subd. 07
Appropriation Language

$75,000 the first year and $75,000 the second year are from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with Dovetail Partners, Inc., in cooperation with the University of Minnesota to assess feasibility, impacts, and management needs of community-scale forest bioenergy systems through pilot studies in Ely and Cook County and to disseminate findings to inform related efforts in other communities.

2013 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$75,000
Direct expenses
$75,000
Number of full time equivalents funded
0.97
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

Click on "Final Report" under "Project Details".

Measurable Outcome(s)

Click on "Final Report" under "Project Details".

Project Overview

PROJECT OVERVIEW
Small scale community bioenergy systems hold significant promise for increasing energy security, reducing carbon emissions, and contributing to local economies. These types of systems rely on materials such as wood and grasses sourced from the surrounding area as fuel sources for local energy production. However, many questions still remain about how to effectively and sustainably implement these types of community bioenergy systems. Dovetail Partners is piloting an effort with the City of Ely and Cook County to develop the information and tools necessary for communities to assess the viability of these types of energy systems based on the resources available within their own regions.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
This project helps guide development of sustainable community-scale forest bioenergy programs in Northeast Minnesota and provides examples from the region to assist communities statewide considering similar projects. Locally produced, community-based renewable energy systems hold significant promise for increasing energy security, reducing carbon emissions, and contributing to local economies. The goals of this project were to develop and share information and tools that address key questions about the viability of community bioenergy systems. During the first phase, existing models and planning tools were adapted to evaluate feasibility, impacts, and management needs for community-scale and other small bioenergy applications being proposed in Ely and Cook County. During the second phase of the project, the information and tools developed in Ely and Cook County were shared with communities, land managers, policymakers, investors, and others interested in the long-term prospects and viability of locally produced bioenergy. The results of the project indicate that there are abundant potential biomass supplies that could meet the needs of the community-scaled biomass energy projects being considered. The financial analysis illustrates that a number of the projects being considered have reasonable potential payback periods and other positive indications of financial feasibility. The environmental review reports summarize major considerations that were identified in interviews with local stakeholders and provide information about the mitigations that are in place to manage risk (e.g., Minnesota"s use of biomass harvesting guidelines, third-party forest certification and ecological monitoring). At this time, the community of Ely is considering options for moving forward with a biomass system or systems that could serve the community college, hospital, school and/or other facilities. The community of Grand Marais has completed additional engineering analysis for a potential district heating system that could serve a number of public buildings and private businesses that represent the major potential customers for the system.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION<
The study team has prepared and made publicly available the final reports and fact sheets from the project that address the estimates of available fuel supplies for biomass facilities in Ely and Cook County and evaluations of potential environmental impacts and available mitigations. An additional report, "Community-Driven Biomass Energy Opportunities - A Northern Minnesota Case Study" has been prepared and made publicly available. The report highlights the findings from the projects and also describes the approach and community-driven structure of the project, conclusions and recommendations that can assist other communities facing similar questions and decisions about renewable energy. The fact sheets, complete reports and the executive summary report are available at the project website (http://www.dovetailinc.org/content/lccmr-supporting-community-driven-sustainable-bioenergy-projects). Community meetings were held in Grand Marais and Ely throughout the project to engage community input and present project findings to community members. Presentations about the project have been made to the Minnesota Forest Resources Council, Minnesota Forest Resources Partnership, and attendees of the Heating the Midwest Conference held in Carlton, Minnesota. Project information, products and results have been shared through the webpages that have been maintained throughout the project. These pages have shared the fact sheets, reports, and materials distributed at public meetings (e.g., presentation slides). News releases have also been distributed during the project, including radio interviews and newspaper articles in Ely and Grand Marais as well as statewide media engagement (e.g., Midwest Energy News). The activities of the project also included meetings with diverse partner groups, including staff of CERTs, landowner and land managers, loggers and forest product industry representatives, environmental and conservation organizations, local residents and other Minnesota citizens.

Project Details
Project Manager
First Name
Kathryn
Last Name
Fernholz
Organization Name
Dovetail Partners Inc
Street Address
528 Hennepin Ave, Ste 202
City
Minneapolis
State
MN
Zip Code
55429
Phone
(612) 333-0430
Email
katie@dovetailinc.org