How Biomass Could Shape Central Oregon Energy
While solar and wind power have become popular renewable energy sources in the Northwest, biomass energy—defined as heat or electricity generated from organic materials—has struggled to gain a foothold in the region. However, a number of professionals are working to reverse that trend by partnering with public and private institutions to increase the profile of biomass in Oregon not only as a clean energy source, but as a tool to improve forest health and reduce major wildfire risk.
- Is biomass a good fit for Central Oregon’s energy portfolio, economy, and environment?
- How clean is biomass – won’t it be smoky?
- Could a biomass industry in Central Oregon be a key partner in wildfire risk reduction and forest health restoration, or would a renewed interest in removing woody materials from forests prompt us to repeat forest management mistakes from the past?
Join City Club as we answer these and other burning questions about biomass.
Dylan Kruse is Policy Director for Sustainable Northwest, a non-profit organization based in Portland, Oregon whose mission is to bring people, ideas, and innovation together so nature, local economies, and rural communities can thrive. Their work to forge solutions for people and natural systems places Sustainable Northwest at the radical middle of community, economy, and ecology. Founded in 1994, Sustainable Northwest is a pioneer in solving problems through collaboration and has grown into one of the most trusted organizations working at the intersection of the environment, economy, and community.
Dylan is responsible for state and federal legislative activity and agency engagement, and represents the organization’s broad market and public policy priorities. In addition, he is the organization’s bioenergy lead, and works on wood biomass utilization and energy projects across the Northwest. Dylan is co-chair of the Oregon Forest Biomass Working Group, is on the board of the Biomass Thermal Energy Council, and holds a seat on the steering committee of the National Rural Assembly. He is also 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. Before joining Sustainable Northwest, he attended Lewis & Clark College in Portland, OR and received a B.A. in International Affairs. His work at Sustainable Northwest has linked his diverse interests of resource management, conservation, renewable energy production and economic development.
Andrew Haden is the founder of Wisewood Energy and has over 12 years of experience in the biomass industry. Over his career, Andrew has led the development and implementation of biomass energy projects across the West and is considered one of the nation’s foremost experts in biomass systems and technology. Prior to founding Wisewood, Andrew worked at Bear Mountain Forest Products, an Oregon wood pellet producer, and Ecotrust, a Portland based environmental non-profit that works to promote ecologically-sustainable economic development. Andrew holds a master’s degree in Rural Development from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Uppsala, Sweden and a bachelor’s in Sustainable Agriculture from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. The common thread running throughout all of his work and research has been a focus on community-scale infrastructure projects that increase local economic self-reliance using locally-available natural resources.
Andrew is native of Seattle and has lived throughout the Northwest as well as in Sweden and Denmark, where he caught the biomass bug. He now lives in Portland and spends much of his free time skiing, fly fishing and mountain biking, as well as helping tend his family’s forest in Tillamook County. In addition to running Wisewood, Andrew serves on the Board of Directors of 1000 Friends of Oregon and the Biomass Thermal Energy Council.
Jennifer Letz is a sustainability consultant based in Bend. She holds a Master’s degree in Sustainable Management from Prescott College and is also a graduate of Bend Senior High. Her background includes work with the National Park Service and US Forest Service in a variety of positions including sustainable operations specialist, backcountry ranger, and wildland firefighter. She currently is the vice-president of the Board for The Environmental Center.