AUGUSTA  — The Maine Department of Conservation says eight wood-to-energy conversion projects are receiving more than $5.55 million in federal stimulus funding.

The energy-conversion grants will provide partial funding for projects at six school systems, the University of Maine at Presque Isle and Northern Maine Medical Center. The projects call for wood chip or pellet boilers to replace or supplement existing heating systems, saving thousands of gallons of oil.

The conservation department says the projects will create 185 jobs.

Besides creating jobs, the goals are to achieve energy savings, reduce dependence on nonrenewable energy resources, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support sustainable forestry.