Supporting Community-Owned Energy Production

  • 2 Jobs created or retained
  • $1 Million other funds leveraged
  • 434 Metric tons greenhouse gases averted

In Harney County, they depend on each other and work together to solve problems. Five years ago, the County and School District in Burns had a big problem: inadequate heating systems that were failing.

In response, High Desert Biomass Coop was founded for long-term, community ownership of an innovative, biomass district heating system in Burns, Oregon. The system provides renewable heat to the local courthouse, jail, elementary school and an addiction treatment facility.

Without a biomass system, higher-cost fossil fuel would have to be trucked in a long-distance to heat the community facilities. The system consumes roughly 500 tons of biomass a year and provides a market for low-value forest residuals that are generated from local timber harvests, including restoration/fire risk reduction treatments on U.S. Forest Service lands.

Craft3 financed $1.1 million, about half, of the overall project. The project also received significant support from Portland-based Meyer Memorial Trust, a Business & Industry Loan Guarantee from U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development and tax credits from the Oregon Department of Energy.

Craft3 provided additional financing to expand the footprint of the facility over the coming years to connect additional customers.