Officials from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), staff from the New Hampshire Congressional delegation, and community development experts visited the Dummer Town Hall Wednesday to announce an $11,500 USDA grant to help the town install a wood pellet boiler and wood pellet storage silo. The town accessed the funding through USDA Rural Development’s (RD) Community Facilities Grant Program, which provides grants to municipal and non-profit organizations that provide essential community services.
"The Town of Dummer will immediately cut its heating bill by 40 percent upon installation of the new boiler," said USDA RD Vermont and New Hampshire State Director Ted Brady. "This grant, in combination with funding from the Northern Forest Center and the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission, will enable the town to recoup its investment in the new boiler in about a year. Just as importantly, the funding allows the town to rely on sustainable and locally-sourced wood pellets instead of oil, creating jobs here in the North Country."
The new wood pellet system will be installed in May and is anticipated to save the town $1,500 a year in heating and hot water costs. The new system will replace a 22-year-old boiler that burned about 950 gallons of oil at a cost of $3,400 annually. The town anticipates the pellet boiler will burn 8.1 tons of pellets at an annual cost of $1,904.
"The pellet boiler will be a great addition to the town and reduce our heating costs nearly in half," said Berlin Area Renewable Energy Initiative (BAREI) Co-chair and Dummer resident Ed Solar. "We are also being good stewards of the environment. The project could not have been done without a grant from the Northern Forest Center and USDA RD’s help in applying for and getting their grant."
"This project is a win-win: the town of Dummer will save money and reduce its environmental impact by installing this new wood pellet boiler," said Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02). "Using biomass to produce heat is a smart alternative that saves money for consumers, utilizes New Hampshire’s homegrown resources, and supports our local economy. Partnerships like this represent government at its best. I applaud the town of Dummer for its forward thinking and I will continue to support efforts like this in Congress."
The wood pellet system will cost $33,000 to purchase and install. The USDA RD grant matches a $10,000 grant from the Northern Forest Center and a $9,900 rebate from the State of New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission.
The Dummer Town Hall boiler project complements the Northern Forest Center’s Model Neighborhood Project in nearby Berlin. The Northern Forest Center facilitated the installation of more than 40 pellet boilers in Berlin homes, non-profit organizations, and municipal facilities in recent years, saving residents $120,000 in energy costs and injecting an anticipated $5 million into the local economy.
President Obama’s plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President’s leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities,
businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America’s economy, small towns and rural communities. USDA’s investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values.
USDA, through its RD mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an active portfolio of more than $197 billion in loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural areas. Learn more about Rural Development here.