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Picture of Heating with Wood in Alaska
PNW-2012-07
Heating with Wood in Alaska

Title: Developing estimates of potential demand for renewable wood energy products in Alaska

Author: Brackley, Allen M.; Barber, Valerie A.; Pinkel, Cassie;

Date: 2010

Source: Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-827. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 31 p.

Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)

Description: Goal three of the current U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service strategy for improving the use of woody biomass is to help develop and expand markets for woody biomass products. This report is concerned with the existing volumes of renewable wood energy products (RWEP) that are currently used in Alaska and the potential demand for RWEP for residential and community heating projects in the state. In this report, data published by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Census and the U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Agency have been used to build a profile of residential and commercial energy demand for Alaska census tracts. By using peak prices from the fall of 2008, the potential value of a British thermal unit (Btu) from various fuels has been calculated to identify those situations where wood-based fuels are economically competitive or advantageous when compared with alternative fuel sources. Where these situations are identified, the Btu usage has been converted to equivalent volumes of wood energy products. Data have been presented so potential demand is available by census tract. No attempt has been made to define the rate of conversion or the time that it will take for total conversion to renewable wood energy. The ultimate rate of conversion is a function of government policies that encourage conversion, costs associated with converting, and price of alternative fuels. If fuel oil prices increase to the levels experienced in 2008, there would be a strong economic incentive to convert heating systems to use solid wood fuels. If all of the liquid fuels used by the residential and commercial sectors in Alaska were converted to solid wood energy, it is estimated that 1.3 million cords of material would be required annually.

Keywords: Alaska, wood energy, heating fuels

Publication Notes:

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  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
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Citation:


Brackley, Allen M.; Barber, Valerie A.; Pinkel, Cassie 2010. Developing estimates of potential demand for renewable wood energy products in Alaska. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-827. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 31 p.

 


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