Wood Biomass workshop aimed at Kootenay projects

The Rocky Mountain Trench Natural Resources Society (Trench Society) will host a two-day workshop next month in response to growing interest in small-scale bioenergy projects in the Kootenays.

The intensive hands-on workshop, to be held June 13-14 in Cranbrook, is aimed at individuals and organizations currently at the planning stages of setting up wood biomass heating systems.

Attendance at three events offered last year by the Trench Society revealed significant regional interest in developing community-based bioenergy projects.

A tour of four Montana public schools that have converted from fossil fuels to wood biomass, plus follow-up workshops in Cranbrook and Castlegar on bioenergy basics, attracted a total of 90 participants representing local, regional and provincial governments, First Nations, colleges, school districts, the forest industry and others.

“The response to those events convinced us and our partner sponsors that a more advanced workshop was necessary,” Trench Society Coordinator Dan Murphy said. Columbia Basin Trust, BC Bioenergy Network, Green Heat Initiative and SCR Management Inc. are co-sponsoring the upcoming event. Workshop moderator Tom Hobby of SCR Management in Victoria has put together a comprehensive agenda that includes a tour of two potential projects near Cranbrook and an impressive list of North American and European speakers.

“This year’s workshop will have an applied focus, a hands-on approach,” Hobby said. “We are encouraging participants to bring their own project ideas or plans and we’ll work through many of the actual details over the two days.”

He said workshop sessions will be interactive, with expert presenters addressing technical questions from participants. “The people we’re bringing in have real-world understanding of the issues and requirements for developing and managing effective projects.”

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