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Individual Highlight

Community Biomass Handbook for Alaska Published

Photo of Woodchips fuel the boiler used by the Tok School District, Alaska. USDA Forest ServiceWoodchips fuel the boiler used by the Tok School District, Alaska. USDA Forest ServiceSnapshot : Volume 2 of the Community Biomass Handbook focuses on Alaska. It is designed to empower communities by helping them determ the best choices for meeting their energy needs. The companion Wood Energy Financial Calculator allows users to estimate capital investment costs to facilitate project design and screening across a variety of wood energy options.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Lowell, Eini C. 
Research Location : Alaska
Research Station : Pacific Northwest Research Station (PNW)
Year : 2015
Highlight ID : 784


With little access to natural gas, many rural Alaskans depend on fuel oil to meet their heating needs. Alaska is the highest per-capita consumer of petroleum in the country, which makes Alaskans particularly vulnerable to consistently high oil prices, price spikes, and delivery interruptions. Using forest biomass for heating is a proven way to meet the thermal energy demands of communities and businesses, while also creating jobs, building infrastructure, and retaining wealth in Alaska rural communities. It also provides a financial means to utilize the byproducts of forest health restoration and wildfire risk reduction treatments throughout the state. This has national significance. It directly responds to goals of reducing reliance on nonrenewable fossil fuel, diversification of energy portfolios, and addresses the USDA goal of advancing installation of commercially viable wood energy systems.

Community Biomass Handbook Volume 2: Alaska, Where Woody Biomass Can Work and the interactive companion handbook provides Alaska communities with the opportunity to quickly assess energy options that can help them save time and resources and allow them to make investments in appropriate technologies.

Additional Resources

Wood Energy Project(external web site)

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

  • Alaska Region
  • State and Private Forestry
  • Alaska Energy Authority
  • Bihn Systems LLC
  • University of Alaska Extension
  • University of Minnesota