Montpelier – Non-profits, local businesses, and other users of advanced wood heating sent a letter Tuesday to members of the Vermont State Senate urging them to support rural economies, working landscapes, and commitments to climate pollution reductions by taking actions which support advanced wood heating. Advanced wood heat utilizes highly efficient boilers, supports healthy forest ecosystems, sources local wood, and has negligible emissions.
The request comes at a time when members of the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Energy are reviewing S.276, a bill related to rural economic development. The bill includes a sales tax exemption for the purchase of advanced wood heating equipment and fuel which will help bring down the upfront cost of this these systems which boast greater price stability and lower energy costs over their lifetime, when compared to traditional heating methods.
The letter also urged the Senators to support Vermonters’ access sustainable local heating by maintaining funding for the Clean Energy Development, Working Lands Funds, and streamline financing and incentives, as well as increasing the number of HVAC installers that can install and maintain advanced wood systems. “Taking these steps now will serve as lasting investments in Vermont and support the continuation of Vermont’s long, proud history of a forestry sector which keeps energy dollars local, supports jobs for our neighbors, and keep forests viable and sustainably managed,” the letter signed by 37 local businesses and organizations stated.
Vermont could achieve 35% of its thermal energy needs by the year 2030 through advanced wood heating according to a report by the trade group Renewable Energy Vermont. The steps outlined in the report chart a course to utilizing renewable resources within our borders, we can forgo sending $131 million out of state every year on heating oil and instead invest $70 million annually back into our local economy. “Advanced wood heating has been identified by Governor Scott’s Climate Action Commission and the Vermont Energy and Climate Summit as perfect solution for Vermont – both recognizing that wood heating as a tremendous opportunity to maintain our working landscape, keep dollars local and meet our climate goals,” said Ansley Bloomer, Assistant Director of Renewable Energy Vermont. “Advanced wood heat is a win, win, win for Vermont.”