FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 13, 2012
SCHUMER ANNOUNCES ReENERGY & SUNY ESF IN SYRACUSE TO RECEIVE $4.3 MILLION IN USDA FUNDING FOR PROJECT TO CONVERT WILLOW BIOMASS INTO RENEWABLE ENERGY
Schumer Announced Today that ReEnergy & SUNY ESF in Syracuse To Receive $4.3 Million in USDA Funding to Create Complete Willow Biomass Production System
Farmers in Oneida, Herkimer, Oswego Counties & The North Country Will Be Eligible For Education & Resources to Harvest Their Willow From Marginal Land & Convert to Fuel
Schumer: Investment a Win-Win for CNY Farmers & Clean Energy Initiatives
Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will invest $4.3 million to ReEnergy and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, to encourage growth of shrub willow as a renewable energy fuel in Central New York and the North Country. The willow will be grown on marginal farmland across the region, including farms in Oneida and Oswego Counties and the North Country. ReEnergy will then use these products to create a complete willow biomass production system on a commercial scale. Schumer applauded the USDA for this investment in clean energy initiatives that engage the agriculture economy in Central New York.
“This partnership between SUNY ESF and ReEnergy of our North Country is a true win-win that’s good for farmers, the clean energy revolution and jobs in upstate,” said Schumer. “Working with our farmers, SUNY ESF will pound the pavement of Central and Northern New York educating farmers who have marginal land ready to harvest. In turn, ReEnergy will use the energy across its facilities to power up the North Country grid while creating a wood biomass cultivation model the rest of the country will learn from. I was happy to support ReEnergy’s early efforts in the North Country and look forward to seeing other biomass-to-energy facilities replicate this model across the country.”
Schumer noted that critical to the project is a collaboration between ReEnergy and the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) in Syracuse, which will offer an outreach program to educate local governments, agricultural leaders, farmers and landowners about the opportunity to grow willow as fuel for renewable energy.
The funds will be made available through the USDA Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP), which helps renewable energy companies and farmers manage the risk of developing new crops like willow for power, heat and fuel. BCAP will provide up to 75% reimbursement of willow establishment costs and annual rental payments for the term of the program.