January 27, 2020 - The Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation (FPR) announced the availability of a new incentive program for advanced wood heat systems in commercial and institutional new construction. Qualifying installations will be eligible to receive custom incentives of $1.25 per square foot of heated space, up to $50,000.
The program is made possible by a $250,000 Wood Innovations Grant to the Department from the USDA Forest Service and is supplemented by matching funds from the Vermont Department of Public Service’s Clean Energy Development Fund and Efficiency Vermont.
Vermont has a stated goal in its Comprehensive Energy Plan to meet 35% of its thermal energy needs with wood heat by the year 2030. At present, 21% of Vermont’s thermal energy comes from wood. Achieving this goal would not only displace fossil fuels, but also retain local wealth, maintain and create jobs for Vermonters, and keep forests as forests by providing markets for the products of sustainable forestry. This new program is expected to support 20 medium- to large-scale projects.
“These advanced wood heating systems are clean burning and efficient, with fuel costs that are lower and more predictable than fossil fuels,” said FPR Commissioner Michael Snyder. “Rebate programs like this can really help with the upfront capital costs. I’m thrilled that these boilers will help to grow the markets for low grade wood, which are essential to keeping forests as forests.”
Installations may use cordwood, wood chips, or wood pellets, provided boilers are highly efficient and installations are reviewed and approved by engineers at Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC), supporting the Efficiency Vermont contract.
Efficiency Vermont offers this same incentive potential for existing commercial buildings, but previously was only able to offer extremely limited incentives on new construction. For more information and to establish eligibility, building owners should contact Efficiency Vermont at 1-888-921-5990.