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Smith River Rancheria - 2005 Project

Project Overview
Tribe/Awardee: Smith River Rancheria
Location: Smith River, CA
Project Title: Feasibility Study for a Wind and Biomass Generation Facility on the Smith River Rancheria
Type of Application: Feasibility
DOE Grant Number: DE-FG36-05GO15178
Project Amounts:
DOE: $198,432
Awardee: $0
Total: $198,432
Project Status: Complete  More
Project Period
of Performance:
Start: August 2005
End: December 2006


The Smith River Rancheria located just south of the Oregon border, on the coast, knows that developing a power-generation facility is a crucial part of its multifaceted plan for both economic development and reduction of energy costs. The activities associated with this grant will include the basic steps necessary to determine whether a generation facility will, in fact, benefit the tribe.

Project Description

The Smith River Rancheria ("SRR") has a strong commitment to becoming energy self-sufficient, reduce its energy costs, and stimulate economic development in the community. SRR, recognizing the energy needs of the tribe and tribal members, visualizes that within five years there will be energy self-sufficiency for the tribe and tribal members, with the full intention of utilizing its own natural resources to realize its goal of self-sufficiency. It is because of SRR's strong desire to improve its community by fulfilling its energy vision, preparing for further economic development, reducing SRR's energy costs, promoting and utilizing renewable energy resources, and becoming energy self-sufficient, that SRR will conduct a power generation feasibility study.


The Smith River Rancheria has developed an energy statement and guiding principles, and a progressive Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy. Some of the objectives outlined in these documents include achieving energy self-sufficiency, reducing energy costs, promoting renewable energy, obtaining more control over the tribe's energy source, and creating employment opportunities. A recent step toward achieving some of these objectives is the completion of an energy self-sufficiency plan, which identifies fuel sources for a power-generation development project and recommends evaluation of such a project along with the formation of an energy organization. The overall objective of this project is to determine whether developing a power generation project (and which option) will support the tribal energy objectives and economic development objectives, and be economically viable.


Developing a power generation facility is a crucial part of SRR's multifaceted plan for both economic development and reduction of its energy costs. The activities associated with this grant will include the basic steps necessary to determine whether a generation facility will, in fact, benefit the tribe. The basic steps of this review include:

  • Evaluate various sites, transmission, wheeling, and marketing options for wind and biomass power.

  • Assess the benefits and disadvantages to SRR for each option regarding quality of life and cost.

  • Gather costs to develop, build, own, and operate a generation facility, and perform an economic analysis of all options to allow screening of the alternatives.

  • Develop an operations and maintenance plan, business organization plan, training plan, and development plan.

  • Install an anemometer on the preferred site if the wind option passes the screening.

Project Location

The Smith River Rancheria is a coastal community about 20 miles north of Crescent City, California, and 10 miles south of the Oregon border. It is a modestly sized community of approximately 600 people with many other members living outside the reservation's borders, including some at Oregon locations.

Project Status

This project is complete. For details, see the final report (PDF 5.3 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 667 KB), October 2006 (PDF 1.0 MB) and November 2007 (PDF 2.2 MB). Download Adobe Reader.

For additional information, contact the project contact.

Project Contact

Ed Wait
Grants and Contracts Manager
Smith River Rancheria
140 Rowdy Creek Road
Smith River, CA 95567
Telephone: 707-487-9255
Facsimile: 707-487-0930