Need some night time reading?

I’ve had a few requests from friends to make my master’s terminal project available for download. While I’m very proud of the work I did, I’d say it definitely has a specific audience. If you feel the urge to want to read it, feel free to download it. If you use it for research, please provide the proper citations.

I’m also making a PowerPoint presentation available. The PowerPoint was presented for the Willamette Valley Biomass Working Group, the client for this project. You can read more about my defense and energy planning in previous posts.

Continue reading “Need some night time reading?”

You Are Invited to Brett Holt’s Defense

We want everyone to feel included as we wind down this chapter of our lives. Here is the official evite for Brett’s defense next week. I’ll put a PDF of the project on the website when I finish all the edits in a few weeks. Also, here is the link to the invitation on the PPPM website. Thanks!

You are invited to attend Brett Holt’s exit project defense
Tuesday, June 3, 2008, 9:00am
University of Oregon EMU Coquille Room

Perception to Inception: Assessing Contractor Capacity to Utilize Woody Biomass for Energy Production in Lane County, Oregon

Brett W. Holt

Master of Community and Regional Planning, June 2008


Events such as global warming, peak oil, and catastrophic wildfires are bringing government officials, community members, conservation organizations, timber industry officials, and other stakeholders together to explore sustainable long-term solutions to create healthy and vibrant communities. The utilization of woody biomass is being explored as a solution because of its ability to minimize the effects of these events, as well as meet economic development, renewable energy, and ecological objectives. On the front lines to promoting woody biomass is the timber industry. Though they stand to benefit economically, there are challenges they face before fully committing to utilizing woody biomass.

To better understand the opportunities and challenges the timber industry faces in the Southern Willamette Valley, this study accomplished two main objectives. The first objective was to understand the capacity of firms either engaged in or have the potential to engage in woody biomass collecting, processing and transportation services. The second objective was to determine the willingness and interest of firms to participate in biomass utilization efforts and what barriers prevent them from engaging in or supporting woody biomass utilization.

As part of the study, we interviewed key individuals involved in the collection, transportation, and/or utilization of timber in the Southern Willamette Valley. The results of the study provide a better understanding of the competition surrounding the region’s existing supply of woody biomass and the perceived challenges and limitations of increasing specific woody biomass opportunities. Findings suggest opportunities are limited due to supply availability, firms have an inconsistent definition of what woody biomass is and its uses, and the industry may benefit from increased government subsidies.

Energy independence must start at the local level

In today’s Register-Guard Newspaper, a member of the Willamette Valley Biomass Study Group wrote an op-ed piece about the need to research renewable energy at the local level. This group has three studies on renewable energy potential in the Southern Willamette Valley. If you read the article, I am part of the study, awarded by the U.S. Forest Service, examining the potential of building a cellulosic ethanol facility utilizing woody biomass.

As I am writing this post, I am in the middle of writing my findings from my the interview process. I talked with 17 timber firms about the challenges and opportunities to developing the woody biomass industry. In conjunction with this study, I am using the data to contribute to my exit project for graduate school. I also submitted an abstract for this study to the Annual 14th International Symposium on Society and Resource Management. My abstract was accepted a month ago and I will have an opportunity to sit on a panel with three other professionals conducting research on the utilization of woody biomass. I applied for and received a student scholarship from the conference committee so that I don’t have to pay conference fees, but I am still waiting to secure travel funds. The event is June 10-14 in Burlington, Vermont.

pelletFor more information about what woody biomass is and how it is used for renewable energy, visit these links:

You may also contact me to learn more about woody biomass.