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Economic Impact Assessment of Wood Chip Heat in Maine


September 27, 2017

SIG-NAL has released a new study commissioned by the Natural Resources Council of Maine on the economic implications of increasing wood chip heat installations in Maine.


The report states that that redirecting wood chips away from aging, subsidized and struggling biomass power plants towards heating buildings would save Maine over $1 billion in less than 15 years while preserving a low-grade wood market for the forest sector.


It would take about 1,900 wood-chip heating installations (0.5 to 3 Megawatts in size) to use the volume of chips and sawmill waste currently used by biomass power plants. Installation costs for the new boilers would total about $2.21 billion. If Maine invested in this transition over five years, the payback would take about ten years due to savings on oil and propane.


A wood chip heat initiative such as this would lead to indirect job creation as high as 4,150 jobs over a 20-year wood boiler lifetime.


The full report can be downloaded here.




Project Launched to Help American Indian Tribes Combat Climate Change

Erick Giles (pictured) of the Indian Land Tenure Foundation and John Gunn of SIG-NAL kicked off a three-year project to work with American Indian tribes to develop capacity for generating agricultural and rangeland carbon offset projects at the Coalition on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases (C-AGG) meeting in Washington, DC. early in November. The event provided an opportunity to present plans for the project and network with current and previous USDA Conservation Innovation Grant awardees. For more on this project, see our recent press release .


American Forest Foundation releases report on the water supply threat from western US wildfires

SIG Principal Austin Troy conducted the extensive spatial analyses that form the basis for this significant report on water and wildfire on private lands in the western US. Western. Download the report here .


New SIG Affiliate

Spatial Informatics Group woud like to welcome our newest Affiliate, Dr. Chris Mallek . Chris is a fire scientist with a broad base of wildland fire experience ranging from research and knowledge transfer to fire management planning and operations. As a student and postdoctoral research associate, he worked closely with US Forest Service ecologists studying fire ecology at the population, community, and landscape levels to better inform land management decisions. In addition, he has worked as outreach coordinator and information specialist for the US Joint Fire Science Program’s regional Fire Science Delivery Consortia, coordinating and implementing knowledge transfer between fire scientists and land managers in California and the Great Basin. Learn more about Chris here .


New Paper: Forest BioEnergy GHG Emissions

Dr. Hurteau at Penn State w/ a timely blog about our new paper on forest bioenergy GHG emissions in GCB Bioenergy http://www.hurteaulab.org/blog/new-paper-forest-bioenergy-ghg-emissions


New Partnership Allows Remote Alaskan Villages to Mitigate Climate Change and Protect Forests

SIG-NAL has entered into a partnership with the National Indian Carbon Coalition leading to the development of verified carbon offsets from Alaska Native Corporation lands using state‐of‐the‐art technology to quantify the carbon stocks on the remote tundra and forests of Alaska. The technical work will be led by SIG‐NAL with the help of Dr. Mark Ducey at the University of New Hampshire.


SIG Releases Original Lake Tahoe Basin Data for Public Use

SIG has begun posting original data created by SIG researchers, including David Saah, Jarlath O'Neil-Dunne, Qi Chen, Tadashi Moody, Travis Freed, Jason Moghaddas, and Gary Johnson for several LiDAR based projects in Lake Tahoe. The current datasets include GIS data for both impervious surfaces and for all known existing and planned fuel treatments (to the year 2020) in the Lake Tahoe Basin. These datasets can be downloaded by going to http://sig-gis.com/about/projects and clicking the “download data” for the project you are interested in. You will be required to fill in a simple contact sheet prior to downloading. SIG would like to thank our local experts and agency partners in Lake Tahoe in helping complete these projects, which were funded by the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act (SNPLMA). SIG will continue to post additional data on-line as it becomes available.


We will update our Facebook  page (https://www.facebook.com/Spatial.Informatics.Group?fref=ts ) as new data is posted-give us a “like” if you want to receive the most recent information on data availability.


Wildfires and Climate Change in New York Times


SIG affiliates Dr. Max Moritz and Dr. David Ganz are featured in a recent New York Times article on “ Wildfires and Climate Change .” The context of the article is the Rim Fire this summer in and around Yosemite National Park.


Thomas Buchholz wins ICE Publishing Award


Each year, ICE Publishing acknowledges the best work published in their journals at the ICE Publishing Awards ceremony, held at One Great George Street in London, UK. They award authors from both industry and academia that have produced work judged by their peers to be of exceptional quality and benefit to the civil engineering community. Dr. Buchholz was given the Watt Medal for his paper on wood gasifiers in Uganda in 2013. The entire paper can be downloaded here.


Dr. Buchholz also created a YouTube video to summarize his April 2013 trip to project sites in East Africa: http://youtu.be/-1xBNmfo7t4

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