biomass

In northern New York state, logger Greg Hemmerich and his crew are clearing out an old pasture at the edge of a forest.

"There's a lot of balsam, lot of spruce, thorn apple trees," Hemmerich says. "Ninety percent of this lot is low-grade wood."

In other words, it's no good for furniture or paper or sawmills. But he'll make $80,000 to run the wood through a chipper and truck the chips to a nearby biomass plant.

"Everybody said that green power was supposed to be the wave of the future," Hemmerich says. "So I went full in."

You could call it power that’s growing on trees, but doesn’t get put to good use.

The US Forest service recently announced $4-million in grants to support projects that convert wood to energy. It's part of a program that's meant to support small businesses that create jobs while encouraging alternatives to fossil fuels.