How can Crook County benefit from Biomass?

On October 19, 2018, the Ochoco Forest Restoration Collaborative (OFRC) hosted a Biomass Summit in Prineville, OR. The summit presented an opportunity to learn from examples of successful biomass utilization, explore what types of utilization may be viable in Crook County and better understand any existing barriers. Additionally, the OFRC hopes to highlight any potential next steps that interested parties in Crook County can take to support biomass utilization efforts in the area. The event was completely sold out, with more than 100 people in attendance for the one day Summit at the Central Oregon Community College Campus in Prineville. Gathering together 16 speakers from all over the western states, the Summit featured four panels with different focus areas: Success Stories and Lessons Learned, Supply and Scale, Emerging Technologies, and Policy and Financial Incentives. This page offers a summary of the rich content of each panel, along with information regarding upcoming events and regional utilization projects.

biomass summit oregon forest supply chain

Although many people have heard the phrase “biomass” at some point in the last decade or two, few are knowledgeable about the wide range of utilization strategies available today. What does success look like in this

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biomass small diameter forest products ochoco forest

By Janel Ruehl, Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council Panel Summary What’s the right size biomass utilization project for your community? How do you assess the supply available in your region, and the viability

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torrefication machine biomass forest products

By Vernita Ediger, Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council and the Central Oregon Forest Stewardship Foundation Panel Summary A wide range of technologies and approaches exist for creating value from small-diameter

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By Nicole Strong, Oregon State University Extension Panel Summary Steve Forrester from the City of Prineville started us off with an overview of Prineville’s growth and energy needs. Prineville is situated in a place

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Contact the Experts

Matt King

Wallowa Resources Community Solutions, Inc.

For 20 years, Wallowa Resources has worked to enhance opportunities on forests and grasslands while caring for the land and water for future generations. They focus on collective land management and rural development in Wallowa County. Matt is always looking for ways to bring new energy projects to fruition, for the benefit of the community and the environment. As the renewable energy program advisor for Wallowa Resources, he’s been intimately involved in launching and coordinating WR’s various biomass utilization projects. He splits his time between the Pacific Northwest and East Africa, where he manages community development and agriculture projects.

Brian Reel

Oregon Department of Forestry

Brian is ODF’s Stewardship Forester for the Dalles Unit. He holds an A.A.S in Wildland Fire Science and a B.S. in Forest Management from Oregon State University. His 18-year career with ODF includes a decade managing the fire program in Fossil and Veneta, where he also assisted the Private Forestry program. As stewardship Forester, he provides technical assistance in forest management to private landowners, administers the Forest Practices Act and Fire Prevention Laws, and assists with wildland fire protection. As the primary contact for private land-owners, Brian relishes the opportunity to reinforce positive attitudes about forest resources.

Nick Johnson

Lake County Resources Initiative

Nick Johnson is acting Executive Director of the Lake County Resources Initiative (LCRI). LCRI’s projects promote prosperous, resilient, and thriving rural economies through the use of renew-able energy, mitigating climate disruption, promoting the sustainable use of natural resources, encouraging innovative forest management practices, supporting local business, and facilitating collaboration. As a non-profit organization, LCRI works with the public, government organizations, other non-profits, colleges/universities, community leaders, and industry to obtain common goals. Nick has a degree from Oregon State University renewable materials and a minor in business entrepreneurship. Before joining LCRI, he worked as a quality engineer in secondary wood manufacturing.

Tim Deboodt

Crook County Natural Resources Coordinator

Tim has a doctorate in Rangeland Ecology and more than 30 years of experience in natural resource management. His research focused on monitoring water relationships under managed and unmanaged areas of juniper encroachment in Central Oregon. Recently retired from OSU Extension, Tim will be starting his new position with Crook County in fall 2018. As Natural Resource Manager, Tim will be partnering with federal agencies and exploring possibilities to develop new partnerships. His focus areas include: responsible use of natural resources, access to public lands, economic development, health and sustainability of public lands, natural resources education and awareness, and preservation of cultural interests.

Norman Ward

Wind River Biomass Utility

In 2012, Norm became one of the four founding members of the Wind River Biomass Utility LLC. He grew up in New Hampshire, graduated from the University of New Hampshire after which he began his career with the U.S. Forest Service. Norm retired from the US Forest Service in 2009 and during the course of his 32 years with the Forest Service, he became a licensed land surveyor in Oregon and Washington, serving as Assistant Forest Land Surveyor for the Zoned Forest Boundary Management Program for National Forests and Scenic Area in the states of Washington and Oregon, doing extensive fieldwork throughout the Pacific Northwest, parts of Alaska and the White Mountains National Forest.

Kevin Keown

Ochoco National Forest and Crooked River Grassland
Throughout his 27-year career with the Forest Service, Kevin has worked on the Malheur, Wallowa-Whitman, Deschutes, and Ochoco national forests. In his current role as Natural Re-sources lead, Kevin works in project planning, habitat improvement and restoration, and wildlife habitat inventory/monitoring. On three separate occasions, Kevin has served as a District Ranger in Central Oregon.

Bruce Daucsavage

Ochoco Lumber

Ochoco Lumber takes pride in being good stewards of the land, placing a strong emphasis on exceptional land and resource management practices implemented through long-term objectives. As President, Bruce oversees operations of Ochoco Lumber’s sawmill, biomass facility, timberlands land development projects, and trading companies. He also a member of the Federal Forest Working Group, Oregon Forest and Industries Council, Wood Products Association, and Oregon Business Council. For several years, he has worked to advance biomass projects in the Blue Mountain Region and has guided the development of a torrefaction plant in John Day, Oregon.

Meagan Nuss

Wisewood Energy

Wisewood is one of the nation’s leaders in biomass technology. They pioneered the concept that biomass can do more than provide heat, unlocking local resources, empowering communities, and creating healthier forests. Meagan leads Wisewood’s biomass projects through the preliminary engineering stage of development, helping to identify local and regional supply, fostering regional partnerships, and supporting policy work. She has a background in public forest collaboratives, industrial agroforestry, and non-industrial private forest management.

Dylan Kruse

Sustainable Northwest

Dylan is Sustainable Northwest’s bioenergy lead, working on biomass utilization and energy projects across the Northwest. He is responsible for state and federal legislative activity and agency engagement, representing SNW’s broad market and public policy priorities. Additionally, Dylan is coordinator of the Western Juniper Alliance, a 50 member partnership to accomplish rangeland restoration, produce sustainable wood products, and create jobs in juniper supply and market chains along the West Coast. He’s also an active member of the Oregon Forest Biomass Working Group, on the board of the Biomass Thermal Energy Council, and a steering committee member of the National Rural Assembly.

Matt Krumaneuer

Oregon Torrefaction

Matt is the current Vice President of Special Projects for the US Endowment for Forestry and Communities and in this role also serves as the CEO for Oregon Torrefaction, LLC. He is a lead on the development of the torrefaction plant in John Day, OR. Throughout his esteemed career, Matt has focused on the critical nexus of renewable biomass energy development, forest health, and economic well-being of rural communities. In addition to his project work, Matt has served as a senior policy analyst and bioenergy lead for the Oregon Department of Energy, developing initiatives and policies to promote the development of renewable energy, alternative transportation fuels, and related industries in Oregon.

Ethan Martin


As the former owner of a structural engineering firm in Asheville, NC, Ethan has worked on projects that range from small renovations and additions to a 470,000 square-foot, $125 million central schools for the Cherokee Nation. In his role with WoodWorks he serves as a wood products industry spokesperson and educator dedicated to growing the knowledge and use of structural wood products including Mast Timber in non-residential construction. In his primary role as Senior Technical Director, Ethan consults directly with design professionals to educate and successfully implement wood into their designs.

Darren McAvoy

Utah State University

Darren’s primary interest is helping private landowners make informed choices about how they manage their forest land. His master’s thesis, The Missing Fires video, created a widely distributed platform for educating the public about wildland fire ecology, endorsed by the National Park Service. Most recently, he has developed a new, mobile method of utilizing biomass for biochar production. Prior to joining USU Extension, Darren worked as a forestry consultant and wildland firefighter.

Dave Moldal

Energy Trust of Oregon

Dave works with customers to develop custom renewable energy generation projects, with an emphasis on distributed bio-power and small-scale hydropower. In his career, Dave facilitated a Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan for southwest Florida at a National Estuary Program, directed grassroots conservation campaigns for National Wildlife Federation in Texas and the Pacific Northwest, was a Special Agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and developed utility-scale wind energy projects in the western United States. A Michigan native, he earned Masters Degrees in water resource management and natural resource policy from Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs. Dave is a volunteer leader in the Oregon Council of Trout Unlimited and lives with his wife and two young boys in Southwest Portland.

Marcus Kauffman

Oregon Department of Forestry

Marcus’ work at ODF focuses on realizing the promises of woody biomass for forest management, local employment, and the future of energy. He specializes in bioenergy project development, feedstock analysis, feasibility studies, densified fuel manufacturing, and biomass heat applications. He provides direct technical assistance on biomass utilization and biomass supply to public and private interests across the state. He is also ODF’s lead on biomass education, outreach, and stewardship contracting. He holds a Masters of Community and Regional Planning, Rural Economic Development, from the University of Oregon.

Steve Forrester

Prineville City Manager

As Steve nears his 10-year anniversary as Prineville’s City Manager, he continues to explore avenues for economic development and responsible natural resource utilization. A crook county local, he graduated from Crook County High School, going on to earn a Bachelor of Business Administration from Oregon State University. For 15 years, he worked as a general manager in the forest products industry. In addition to serving as a guest panelist, Steve will be delivering the welcome address at the Summit, setting the local context for biomass opportunities in Crook County.

David Smith

Professor Emeritus, Oregon State University

David Smith joined the faculty of the Department of Wood Science and Engineering in the Forestry College at Oregon State University in 2008 after a long career in The forest products industry.   He came to Oregon over 25 years ago by way of Washington and Montana to work for Willamette Industries as a technical manager in their engineered wood products group. Prior to joining OSU, David spent 12 years as a Process Specialist with Evergreen Engineering, a private consulting engineering firm headquartered in Eugene. One of David’s special areas of interest is the utilization of woody biomass for fuel to generate heat, power, and products. Although he formally retired in 2016, he still conducts research on biomass processing technologies and is particularly interested in the development of economical, processing techniques for converting logging slash or pre-commercial thinning into fuels and products.

Frequently Asked Questions

The City of Prineville has demand from these new data centers, but do they understand the connection between their energy and landscape restoration?

Yes and no. The data center community originally wanted nothing to do with anything related to the forest. Talking to them more, they are starting to understand the needs and they even gave us money to conduct a study. What they don’t want to do is get involved with the regulatory process. –Steve Forrester, City of Prineville

What level of volume from the national forest in tons per year would be necessary to make a biomass campus viable?

In term of saw logs, the campus we currently have in John Day can consume 50,000 – 80,000 tons of green fiber. The one you will hear about this afternoon has the capacity to do about 200,000 tons. Prineville has the opportunity to capitalize on moving of product. It is hard to pencil out the ideal volume number. – Bruce Daucsavage, Ochoco Lumber

I agree that the volume level is dependent on scale. – Nick, LCRI

36,000 tons a year of waste material for a 12,000 kilowatt plant size. Our feasibility study said we could scale up to 2 megawatts. This is on average. – Norm, Wind River Biomass Utility

This is largely dependent on economics, not volume. Generally, it comes down to the saw log component. – Matt King, Wallowa Resources

How many jobs could we anticipate from a biomass project in Crook County? How many employees do you currently have on site at your project(s)?

We have 23 full-time employees and 1/3 of them are there from when the saw mill was still in operation. As we spend more money going into the future, we will be creating a lot more jobs. – Matt King, Wallowa Resources

We only had 4 employees built into our pro forma to get our projects out. Looking into the future, we are estimating the potential for 16 jobs as we expand and incorporate greenhouses into our projects. – Norm Ward, Wind River Biomass Utility

We have 100 direct employees. Loggers and truckers are another 100 employees. – Bruce Daucsavage, Ochoco Lumber

What opportunities make the most sense for Crook County and why?

“We are starting to work with the City of Prineville and see many opportunities. We look for:
1) What are the heat loads?
2) What are the county’s power incentives?
3) Is there any new construction in the area?
4) Are entrepreneurs interested?
5) What is the current supply?

COCC has a number of public buildings that are near each other, so this could be a good heat system project. There are large servers here that use lots of electricity with a need for cooling. Biomass can be used to accomplish this.” – Meagan Nuss, Wisewood Energy

How do you compete with fossil fuels in thermal energy projects?

Alternative fuels are a big part of the equation. It’s tough to compete with electricity and gas. We can easily compete with propane on a dollar to dollar BTU basis. It all depends on the type of wood you are using. – Meagan Nuss, Wisewood Energy

Does the Forest Service have the capacity to add trees larger than 21 inches to timber sales?

The 21 inch rule was an outcome of the Eastside Screens, in place since 1994. Our intention [with the Eastside Screens] is to increase the number of old growth trees on the landscape. Unless there is a specific situation where we can do a site specific amendment, we can’t cut those trees. We currently don’t touch them. – Kevin Keown, USFS

Can the Forest Service authorize the harvesting of burnt trees immediately after a fire?

There are emergency situations where we can expedite the harvest of trees, but scale is a big deal. If it’s a large scale, we get into a much more robust environmental analysis. There is a tradeoff and scale is a big aspect of this. – Kevin Keown, USFS

What kinds of concerns have you heard about supply and overharvesting among private landowners? What can you do to address these concerns?

We often run into these questions and concerns. We have a lot of conversations about what these concerns are and we try to ground what we are talking about. The scale discussion makes those concerns go away. Once people understand the scale, they don’t have supply concerns. – Meagan Nuss, Wisewood Energy

Juniper is not covered under the Forest Act. Juniper removal is focused on animal habitat and watershed values. Thousands of acres are being laid on the ground, and if they don’t come to biomass, it will get burned on the ground. – Tim Deboodt, Crook County

Torrefied wood compared to coal: which is hotter and longer lasting, and what are the associated costs?

Regarding cost, coal delivered into Oregon is about $30 – 35$ a ton. Then you add in another $30 for transportation costs. Coal is very inexpensive, and you just can’t compete with that price. What we can compete with coal on is quality. Torrefied wood is a cleaner fuel, and has much lower moisture content than coal. – Matt King, Wallowa Resources

What is going on with the solar panel project in town? There is infrastructure in Prineville that could use biomass, so what would it take to get this going again?

There are 5 permitted solar facilities in Prineville, but we all know that the sun doesn’t shine all of the time. One of the things that biomass could provide is base load power when the sun goes down. Solar power is very cheap. How much more would somebody pay to get that power firmed up 24 hours a day? We still have an old boiler in Prineville that could be used, and we had several people take a look at it who suggested it would take 6,000 kilowatts to power. – Steve Forrester, City of Prineville 

Biomass-Focused Organizations
Project Director: Ralph Cavalieri

Led by Washington State University, the Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance (NARA) is focused on providing a wide range of research and analyses for a developing industry that converts forest residuals into bio-jet fuel and other co-products. NARA is an alliance of public universities, government laboratories and private industry in the Pacific Northwest region that provides technologies, resources, and analyses for stakeholders interested in using forest residuals from logging operations as feedstock to create a sustainable industry that produces biobased alternatives to petroleum-based products such as aviation biofuels and important co-products.

Oregon Wood Innovation Center
OWIC Director: Scott Leavengood

Oregon State University’s College of Forestry and Extension Service teamed up to create the Oregon Wood Innovation Center (OWIC). OWIC’s mission is to improve the competitiveness of Oregon’s wood products industry by fostering innovation in products, processes, and business systems. A key function of the Center is to serve as the primary link between university research and needs and opportunities in the forest industry.

Oregon Statewide Wood Energy Team
Team Lead: Marcus Kauffman

The team’s primary objective is to build a pipeline of commercially viable biomass end users and connect those projects to capital construction funding. In addition, to start up resources, the team partners with local communities to raise the social acceptance of biomass energy. For example, they assisted Southern Oregon University to help the public understand the environmental and carbon benefits of their proposed biomass heating system.