AUGUSTA, ME – February 18, 2010 – (RealEstateRama) — Governor John E. Baldacci announced today that six school and university oil-to-wood heating projects are receiving more than $3.2 million in federal recovery funds.
The grants are the first to be awarded under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009 (ARRA) energy grants announced last August and managed by the Maine Forest Service (MFS), under the Maine Department of Conservation.
The six energy-conversion grants will go to five school systems and one University of Maine project around the state and will partially fund those projects, according MFS officials. The projects not only are expected to reduce dependency on fuel oil, but also to create new “green” jobs and to support Maine’s forest-products industries.
“Maine has tremendous renewable natural resources,” Governor Baldacci said. “It’s critical we put them to work to reduce our dependency on foreign oil and strengthen our economy. These grants help us to do that.”
“Developing markets for wood grown in Maine is an important achievement,” MDOC Commissioner Eliza Townsend said. “I am proud of the role that this department has played in keeping our forests as forest while developing jobs in Maine.”
“These awards demonstrate the role that sustainable management of Maine’s forests can play in bolstering rural economics while also reducing the dangers posed by climate change as they both keep Maine monies in Maine and reduce atmospheric greenhouse gas levels,” Maine Forest Service Director Alec Giffen said.
Giffen continued, “These six projects will annually avoid the burning of almost 263,000 gallons of oil, re-circulate $600,000 in fuel dollars in the Maine economy, and avoid more than 5 million pounds of emissions from fossil fuels.”
The six funded projects include:
- MSAD 17– Oxford Hills High School; awarded $750,000 for the installation of a wood chip boiler to supplement the current heating system. The boiler will supplant approximately 90 percent of the current oil consumption at the high school. The estimated total project cost is $1,747,551.
- University of Maine Cooperative Extension — Presque Isle Office; awarded $16,575 for the installation of a pellet boiler to replace the current oil boiler. The pellet boiler will displace approximately 1,850 gallons of fuel oil at the Presque Isle Extension office. The estimated project cost is $40,169, with the remainder of the project funded by a grant from the Maine Economic Improvement Fund.
- Greenville School Department — awarded $750,000 for the installation of a chip boiler to replace the current oil system. The chip boiler will displace approximately 36,000 gallons of fuel oil at the high/middle-school building and adjacent gymnasium. The total project cost is $1.8 million.
- MSAD 58 — Phillips Middle School, Phillips, ME; awarded $325,933 for the installation of a pellet boiler to supplement the current oil system and displace approximately 25,000 gallons of fuel oil. The total cost of the project is $419,039.
- RSU 16 — Poland Middle/High School; awarded $636,372 for the installation of a multi-fuel boiler to supplement current oil system and displace approximately 46,000 gallons of fuel oil. The total cost of the project is $712,785.
- RSU 29 — Houlton Junior/Senior High School; awarded $750,000 for the conversion of an oil boiler to a wood chip boiler to heat the school and the SAVE Vocational Technical Center, displacing 65,000 gallons of fuel oil. The total project cost is $1,374,650.
The oil-to-wood grant concept was developed and proposed by the Maine Forest Service and approved for funding by the federal government. As announced last August, it was designed as a competitive grant process open in all Maine communities for state, county, local and tribal governmental buildings, as well as for school and hospital structures.
A total of $11.4 million was made available to the state for the grants, with funding coming from the USDA Forest Service – Northeastern Area, State and Private Forestry Division, to help primarily rural, economically depressed counties.
The short-term goals for the grant program are to create and retain jobs in Maine, to achieve energy savings through wood-to-energy installations, reduce dependence on non-renewable energy resources, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and support sustainable forestry.
The Maine Forest Service called for proposals in October 2009, and a total of 41 applications were received, according to MFS officials. The applications were reviewed by a six-member panel consisting of representatives of the Maine Forest Service, MDOC Commissioner’s office, USDA Forest Service and the Maine Bureau of General Services.
The awards are one-time funds and must be spent or committed within two years. Three main criteria were used for determining award recipients: energy, economic and community benefits; project fuel, design and feasibility; and cost effectiveness and partnership.
Another round of applications will be called for this spring and additional grants will be announced later this year. Those projects not receiving awards in this round will be able to reapply for the second round, MFS officials said.
For more information, go to: http://www.maine.gov/doc/mfs/arra/
David Farmer, (207) 287-3531
Jeanne Curran, (207) 287-3156