USDA 2023 Community Wood Energy and Wood Innovation Program
The intent of the Community Wood Energy and Wood Innovation Grant Program (referred to as the Community Wood Grant Program) is to support forest health and stimulate local economies by expanding renewable wood energy use and innovative wood products manufacturing capacity.
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.
This funding opportunity is intended for shovel-ready projects that will not require additional funding or time to complete after the award period.
Examples of eligible projects include, but are not limited to:
- Install a thermally led community wood energy system for heating, cooling, and/or electricity that replaces fossil fuels such as coal, oil, propane, or natural gas.
- Purchase and install manufacturing equipment at a mass timber production facility.
- Expand a sawmill to add higher-value production lines incorporating innovative technology cost-cutting measures.
- Purchase and install equipment at a new facility to produce biofuels from forest residues.
Priority will be given to projects that:
- Are located where markets are needed for low-value or low-quality wood.
- Are located where the project will aid forest restoration.
- Use or retrofit an existing sawmill facility where the average annual unemployment rate exceeded the national average unemployment rate by more than one percent in the calendar year 2022.
- Use the most stringent control technology required or achieved in practice for a wood-fired boiler and will operate in a location with limited access to natural gas pipelines.
- Support, benefit, or engage communities that are historically underserved, marginalized, and adversely affected by persistent poverty or inequality, Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government).
- Non-profit entities
- State, Local, and Tribal governments
- Businesses, companies, corporations (for profit)
- Institutions of higher education
- Special purpose districts (e.g., public utility districts, fire districts, conservation districts, school districts, and ports)
Matching funds are not required; however, leveraging is required. Applicants must contribute the remaining funds (leveraged funds) necessary to complete the project above and beyond the requested Forest Service funding. Even though leveraged funds have a lower reporting burden and fewer legal requirements than matching funds, applicants must adhere to the requirements for leveraged funds.
FUNDING AVAILABLE AND APPLICATION WINDOW:
FUNDING AVAILABILITY: Approximately $6 million. The maximum for each award is $1 million to pay for up to 35% of total capital costs. The Forest Service may consider awarding up to $1.5 million (for up to 50% of total capital costs) for a proposal that warrants special consideration, especially for projects located in areas of high unemployment.
APPLICATION DEADLINE: December 15, 2023