What is CWET?

Colorado was one of 20 states selected to receive funding through the Statewide Wood Energy Team (SWET) Cooperative Agreements developed by the Wood Education and Resource Center with the US Forest Service. Funds from these SWET agreements are to be used to:

  • Promote commercially proven wood energy systems
  • Expand markets that convert woody biomass into energy
  • Develop a systematic approach to installing wood energy systems
  • Support the development of statewide wood energy teams

Recommendations to Improve Effectiveness of Statewide Wood Energy Teams

Actions taken by Colorado Wood Energy Team to support the above goals include:

  • Identify communities and facilities as good candidates for wood energy and solicit for dedicated assistance and support in developing wood energy systems
  • Develop a new “biomass-ready” facility design tool for public and private facilities to “design-in” for a biomass-energy system in the near-term future
  • Enhance public support and community acceptance of biomass energy projects
  • Lead a Wood-to-Energy Short Course open to professional foresters and natural resource managers, facility engineers and technology providers, renewable energy advocates, state policy makers, members of the economic development community, and private forest landowners

Importance of Project

Colorado is experiencing significant increases in wildfires and local, state, and federal expenditures for hazardous fuels reduction across all land ownership have correspondingly increased. These state and locally funded fuels treatments represent a significant contribution to feedstock supply for new wood energy facilities.

Colorado wood energy

Currently, Colorado has almost a dozen wood energy systems in place. However, our wood energy sector relies heavily on public investment, lacks redundancy and resiliency, and private sector investment risk is high. Moreover, technology and vendor selection is critical. A single change to the feedstock supply infrastructure (a supply processor or contractor going out of business etc.), competition from lower cost energy sources and providers, or community and political support, can and has significant impact the sustainability of some of Colorado’s past wood energy projects and the establishment of new wood-energy facilities. While successes in wood energy have been achieved, Colorado lacks a more formalized process for wood-energy candidate identification, and location, promotion, and reporting. The CWET team has been formulated to address this need.

CWET believes the best predictor for new wood energy systems is in communities with current wood energy systems. Established performance history, in place feedstock supply and processing infrastructure, and community acceptance make these communities a CWET priority for further project solicitation, selection, and CWET assistance and support. After looking at communities with existing wood-energy facilities, additional candidate facilities and communities will be identified by spatially representing current feedstock supplies, wood energy producers and processors, wood products infrastructure, and community wildfire threats.

Become Involved

Interested in reducing your energy costs?
Would you like to contribute to a greener more energy efficient state?

Contact the CWET team to find out how!

Meet the Colorado Wood Energy Team

Team MemberTeam RoleContact
Tim ReaderCo-Principal Investigator. Overall Project Administrative and Fiscal Lead.tim.reader@colostate.edu
Kurt MackesCo-Principal Investigator and Technical Assistance Lead. Feedstock Supply. Harvesting, Processing, and Transportation Logistics and Economics.kmackes@warnercnr.colostate.edu
Pete BarryGIS Analysis. Spatial representation of Biomass Processors, Biomass-energy Facilities, and Forest Management Treatment Priorities.peter.barry@colostate.edu
Dan Bihn, Bihn Systems, LLC.Biomass-Energy Facility and System Design, Installation Feasibility. “Biomass-Ready” Designer. Technical Communications.dan@danbihn.com
Randy Johnson, New West Business Development Group, LLC.Businesses and Financial, Cash- Flow and Investment analysis. Liaison with Colorado Department of Economic Development.

Your Colorado Wood Energy Team (CWET) is working hard to develop a Biomass-Ready Handbook that can be used in the planning process of a new facility or building project. The following is a brief summary of what you can expect. For more information, please contact the CWET team!

Biomass Ready

Adding biomass heating to a building after it is designed (even before it is built!) can be easy – or it can be needlessly difficult and expensive. It is often needlessly difficult and expensive. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Some simple low- or no- cost refinements to your design could give your building the flexibility to easily and affordably add biomass heating in the future

The Biomass-Ready Handbook and Self-documenting Checklist help you and your team quickly visualize and solve common design challenges – often in just a few hours. Biomass-Ready can help your team avoid the common problems that make adding biomass difficult.

  • Biomass heating systems are larger than fossil fuel systems. Can your mechanical equipment room be expanded (e.g., by locating it on the perimeter of the ground floor)?
  • Biomass fuel is delivered by truck and stored on site. Where would you store a week or two of fuel and can a delivery truck access a potential biomass storage bin during normal hours?
  • Biomass heating systems are usually optimized for lower distribution temperatures than most fossil fuel systems. How might you integrate a lower temperature system while providing comfort?

The Handbook includes virtual tours of real-world working systems and to-the-point interviews with top industry experts. The Self-documenting Checklist integrates rule-of-thumb calculators, fill-in-the-blank questions, and narrative input so you can save and document your decisions –  for the future.

The Colorado Wood Energy Team has partnered with Wisewood Energy for biomass projects with Colorado breweries in Northern Colorado!

Wisewood Energy is one of the nation’s leaders in biomass technology, pioneering the concept that biomass can do more than provide heat — it can unlock local resources, empower communities, and create healthier forests.

They have perfected a system of scaling biomass technology to meet their clients’ needs while staying within sustainable limits of supply, which helps create jobs, reduces reliance on fossil fuels and supports a healthy ecosystem. Wisewood Energy has been designing and constructing successful biomass projects for businesses and local communities for nearly a decade, and we are proud to partner with them in Colorado.

Watch to learn more about Wisewood’s most recent success story in Oregon.

Biomass success in Burns, Oregon