U.P. BioFuel Efforts Underway

The Western Upper Peninsula Planning and Development Region (WUPPDR) has launched the U.P. BioFuel website at www.upbiofuel.com,

The U.P. BioFuel website is being developed to support the biofuel initiative in the Region. WUPPDR is focused on educating area landowners about the opportunity to convert their unused farmland into biofuel producing land. WUPPDR is also looking at forming a cooperative between area landowners, who could benefit during planting and harvest from the partnership. WUPPDR has also started working with a pellet team who is developing a business plan with the ultimate goal to bring a pellet plant into production in the Region. All of these initiatives will come together at the biofuel workshop on June 19, 2012 at Michigan Tech.

Prior to the workshop, the website will be used as a tool to promote and register guests for the upcoming biofuel workshop. Area landowners with 20 or more acres of land will be sent invitations in May. The workshop is being supported by WUPPDR, the Michigan Energy Office, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, and a Community Adjustment Investment Program (CAIP) grant. At the workshop, the second phase of the website will take place. The second phase will help educate potential growers, consumers, and those already involved in the biofuel industry by providing cost saving calculators which will help consumers determine if they are paying too much for heat and could be saving money with the installation of a pellet stove. The website will also list pellet stove retailers, as well as share the projected return on investment and the best biofuel crops to grow for area landowners interested in converting their unused farmland to grow biofuel crops, such as switchgrass, poplar, or willow.

The biofuel industry is constantly changing, expanding, and adding new plants to the industry, which in turn support the green initiative and add jobs to the local economy.

The first phase of the U.P. BioFuel website was unveiled on April 14, while the second phase will be released during the workshop for participants to witness the new features, which include different areas for consumers, landowners and industry participants to view helpful information such as a cost comparison calculator, return on investment estimates for switchgrass, poplar or willow and the latest industry news. In May, landowners with 20 or more acres of land in the five-county area will receive invitations to the June 19 workshop. WUPPDR is also working to form a cooperative for area landowners to join and benefit from and developing a business plan with the goal of bringing a pellet plant into production in the Western Upper Peninsula.