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Pueblo of Laguna: Pueblo of Laguna Utility Authority - 2005 Project

Project Overview
Tribe/Awardee: Pueblo of Laguna/Pueblo of Laguna Utility Authority
Location: Laguna, NM
Project Title: Pueblo of Laguna Renewable Energy Feasibility Study
Type of Application: Feasibility
DOE Grant Number: DE-FG36-05GO15193
Project Amounts:
DOE: $199,601
Awardee: $179,219
Total: $378,820
Project Status: Complete  More
Project Period
of Performance:
Start: September 2005
End: December 2006


The Pueblo of Laguna Utility Authority proposes to evaluate opportunities on Pueblo lands to develop large-scale renewable-energy generation projects. The project's objectives are to improve the quality and reliability of electric service on the reservation, work to promote energy self-sufficiency, encourage economic development, and contribute a source of environmentally clean energy.

Project Description

The Pueblo of Laguna ("Pueblo") Utility Authority (PLUA) proposes to undertake a feasibility study to evaluate opportunities on Pueblo lands to develop large-scale renewable energy generation projects. The Pueblo's ongoing interest in renewable generation has focused on its indicated wind, solar, and biomass resources, which appear to be considerable. The proposed project, "Renewable Energy Feasibility Study," is designed to expand upon previous work done by the tribe in evaluating utility formation, generation development opportunities, examining options for creating self-sufficiency in energy matters, and integrating energy management with the tribe's economic development goals.


The project's ultimate objectives in considering renewable energy development are to improve quality and reliability of electric service on the reservation, work to promote energy self-sufficiency, encourage economic development, and contribute to environmentally clean energy. Analyses completed during the project will provide the Pueblo with the data it needs to proceed with development of renewable generation, whether as an owner or participant in future projects. And, if electric utility operations are ultimately part of the PLUA organization, the Pueblo intends to build renewable and/or hybrid renewable generation into its electric utility plans.


PLUA will carry out the study effort with 14 primary tasks, listed below. Some preliminary analysis of the tribal load assessment has already been completed, and a high-level resource analysis and a transmission analysis have been addressed in ongoing Pueblo projects. All remaining required tasks are included in project activities.

  1. Business and organizational planning — project planning kickoff meeting

  2. Community awareness and support
    1. Community outreach program
    2. Community newsletter development
  3. Tribal energy load assessment(s)
    1. Update estimates of meter and load data
    2. Evaluate load data
    3. Review impacts of identified conservation measures
  4. Power market assessment
    1. Wholesale power purchaser survey
      1. Survey Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado
      2. Survey investor-owned utilities (APS, PNM, TEP, PSCO)
      3. Survey publicly owned utilities (SRP, cooperatives)
      4. Survey federal and state agencies (WAPA)
    2. Wholesale generator survey
  5. Site-specific resource monitoring
    1. Quantify wind resource
    2. Quantify solar resource — review Sunlab solar insolation data
    3. Quantify biomass resource
      1. Quantify solid waste resource
      2. Quantify other biomass resources
  6. Quantify natural gas availability and cost
    1. Survey for nearby pipelines
    2. Prepare and submit study applications
    3. Review and revise study results
  7. Transmission and interconnections
    1. Research transmission market
    2. Research Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico
  8. Quantify electric interconnections
    1. Survey for nearby transmission lines
    2. Perform preliminary system analysis
    3. Estimate size, configuration, and routing
  9. Preliminary system design(s)
    1. Size wind facilities
    2. Determine type, number, and arrangement of wind turbines
    3. Estimate annual energy production
    4. Size gas turbine facilities
    5. Develop power price forecast
    6. Develop monthly natural gas price forecast
    7. Determine type, size, and arrangement of gas turbine(s)
    8. Estimate water consumption
    9. Determine auxiliary equipment, buildings, and roads
    10. Environmental evaluation (i.e., benefits and impacts)
  10. Develop project location and resource maps

  11. Evaluate potential environmental impacts and "fatal flaws"
    1. Geology and soils
    2. Biological resources
    3. Traffic and transportation
    4. Land use
    5. Socioeconomics
    6. Paleontological
    7. Hazardous materials handling, public health, waste management, and worker safety
    8. Visual resources
    9. Cultural resources
    10. Water resources
    11. Air quality
    12. Identify jurisdictions, and regulations
    13. Discuss target projects with air quality regulators
    14. Discuss target projects with federal agencies
  12. Tribal benefit assessment
    1. Training and other tribal professional development
    2. Identify tribal roles and skill sets
    3. Identify tribal training needs, plans, and costs
  13. Long-term operation and maintenance (O&M) planning — Identify O&M structure, roles, and schedule

  14. Economic analysis and feasibility decision
    1. Prepare development plan and schedule(s)
    2. Develop capital cost estimates
    3. Develop power sale price estimates
    4. Develop operating cost estimates
    5. Develop financing cost estimate
    6. Determine applicability of incentives and tax credits
    7. Develop pro-forma projected operating results
    8. Evaluate impact of project on electric system acquisition
    9. Determine feasibility
    10. Present results of economic and technical analyses.

Project Location

The Pueblo of Laguna Indian Reservation ("Pueblo") encompasses 533,000 acres, north and south of Interstate 40, approximately 44 miles west of Albuquerque, NM, located primarily in Cibola County. The Pueblo of Laguna inhabitants have continuously occupied this land since the early 1400s. Recent U.S. Census Bureau population estimates indicate the reservation is home to 4,294 residents living in six unincorporated villages (Laguna, Mesita, Paguate, Encinal, Seama, and Paraje), representing approximately 1,300 households.

Project Status

This project is complete. For details, see the final report (PDF 3.0 MB) and its attachments (PDF 39.2 MB). Download Adobe Reader.

The project was competitively selected under the Tribal Energy Program's FY2004 solicitation, "Renewable Energy Development on Tribal Lands," and started September 2005. For more information, see the project status reports from October 2005 (PDF 810 KB), October 2006 (PDF 22.3 MB) and November 2007 (PDF 4.0 MB). Download Adobe Reader.

For additional information, contact the project contact.

Project Contact

Ken Garcia, General Manager
Pueblo of Laguna Utility Authority
P.O. Box 517
Casa Blanca, NM 87007
Telephone: (505) 246-4272