Home-Grown Renewable Heat: Strategies for Achieving Multiple Benefits
Ansley Bloomer, Renewable Energy Vermont & Maura Adams, Northern Forest Center

Making advanced wood heating systems more affordable, supporting supply side infrastructure, and ensuring a well-trained wood heat workforce will help sustain Vermont’s most broadly beneficial renewable heating option.

Pitch Summary:

Advanced wood heat yields more simultaneous benefits than any other renewable energy technology. It mitigates carbon emissions, stimulates economic development, and preserves and enhances our working forest landscape while helping Vermont achieve its energy goals.The advanced wood heating market has been slow to develop, for several reasons: high capital costs and the low price of fossil fuels often make the economics unappealing, and few heating technicians – usually the people in the basement telling consumers what kind of new heating system to buy – are familiar with this technology,
and recommend a standard oil or propane system instead. We recommend several ways to increase adoption of advanced wood heating: (1)
sustain robust consumer incentives and supply-side grants through the Clean Energy Development Fund and Working Lands Enterprise Board, (2) exempt sales of these systems and wood fuel from state sales tax, and (3) develop a comprehensive training program for heating technicians to increase their awareness, confidence, and skill in installing and servicing these systems. Together these strategies will demonstrate Vermont’s continued support for advanced wood
heat as an essential component of its renewable energy strategy and increase adoption of these broadly beneficial heating systems.

Submitted by: Renewable Energy Vermont & Northern Forest Center

Full Pitch