4 Biomass Energy Projects in Nebraska to Split $162,540

The 13-state Western Regional Biomass Energy Program picked 19 projects in 10 states totaling nearly $1 million for possible funding. Four projects selected are in Nebraska.

Western is one of five regional biomass energy programs funded by the U.S. Department of Energy designed to further the goal of replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy resources to generate electricity and power vehicles.

Negotiations Begin Soon

"Projects were selected on technical merit," Jeff Graef, Western administrator said. "Over the next few months, Western staff will contact grant winners to finalize project details such as cost and completion dates."

The 19 projects selected by Western's advisory panel allocated $947,530 for the projects. Those projects anticipate adding at least $2.138 million in funds from other sources. Western requires the winners to at least match the grants dollar-for-dollar. The particulars on each of the Nebraska projects selected:

$4.8 Million Requested

According to sources at Western, 82 project applications for a record-shattering $4.8 million were submitted in January for funding. "Even if the entire regional biomass budget was available for these 82 projects, we would still be $1.8 million short," Graef said. Only $3 million is being shared this year among all five regional biomass programs across the nation.

Making the Hard Decisions

Each of the 82 proposals was reviewed four times. The proposals were checked for completeness, evaluated by experts in the project area, ranked by the representatives from the 13-member states and checked by the U.S. Department of Energy for diversity and geographic balance.

The Nebraska Energy Office in Lincoln provides day-to-day operations for Western. The U.S. Department of Energy's Denver Regional Support Office provides management oversight.