Hoopa Valley Tribe - 2006 Project

Project Overview
Tribe/Awardee: Hoopa Valley Tribe
Location: Hoopa, CA
Project Title: Hoopa Valley Small Scale Hydroelectric Feasibility Study
Type of Application: Feasibility
DOE Grant Number: DE-FG36-06GO16022
Project Amounts:
DOE: $107,099
Awardee: $16,846
Total: $123,945
Project Status: See project status
Project Period
of Performance:
Start: May 2006
End: November 2007

Summary

The Hoopa Valley Tribe will assess the feasibility of smaller-scale hydroelectric facilities (between 100 KW and 5 MW). The feasibility study will focus on analyzing, qualifying, and quantifying the opportunity for the tribe to develop, own and operate hydroelectric plants on tribal lands, either for direct use by the tribe, or for selling power. The objectives of the feasibility assessment, and subsequent project development, are to maximize economic benefits to the tribe and to create employment opportunities for tribal members, while minimizing impacts to the fisheries, riparian zones, cultural and natural resources.

Project Description

On January 1981, the Hoopa Valley Business Council adopted its Local Energy Alternatives Plan (LEAP). The plan outlined small hydroelectric alternative energy development along with timetables for feasibility and development of the resources. Utilizing funds for feasibility under the Tribe's Research and Development line item from the Tribal General Fund, a medium hydro feasibility entitled "Mill Creek Water Reclamation Project, Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation" was conducted in March 1981. The preliminary feasibility report outlined all areas of concern including the following: The proposed sites for this project will be on 7 tributaries within the Hoopa Valley Reservation. None of the 7 tributaries are listed as wild and scenic or for special wildlife preservation needs to determine if it is feasible to develop hydroelectric power on the Reservation.

The Hoopa Valley Tribe will compile information needed to complete the feasibility study for Low Head / Low Power hydro projects on Hoopa Tribal Lands. This project is to both update all aspects of studies performed before 1984 and to verify data identified by the DOE's Idaho National Engineering Laboratory Low Head / Low Power national study as applied to Hoopa tribal lands, and to proceed with the potential development process.

Objective

The ultimate goal of the Hoopa Valley Tribe is to explore the feasibility through investigation and demonstration, the viability of establishing a tribal enterprise in the area of alternative energy production utilizing existing non-productive resources through small hydroelectric technologies.

Scope

The Tribe will assess the feasibility of smaller-scale hydroelectric facilities (between 100 KW and 5MW). The feasibility study will focus on analyzing, qualifying, and quantifying the opportunity for the tribe to develop, own and operate hydroelectric plants on tribal lands, either for direct use by the tribe, or for selling power. The objectives of the feasibility assessment, and subsequent project development, are to maximize economic benefits to the tribe and to create employment opportunities for tribal members, while minimizing impacts to the fisheries, riparian zones, cultural and natural resources.

The feasibility statement, in and of itself, is a tool for use in the capital markets to obtain financing for the development of a hydro power facility. Therefore, the document will be made complete and useful for presentations to lending sources as well as state and federal authorities that are interested in the development as well as the agencies that have jurisdiction and permitting requirements.

Finally, the Hoopa Valley Tribe seeks to become more financially independent, and can do so through either the sale of power or its use on tribal lands. Development of renewable energy resources according to the wisdom of native peoples indicates that they believe in self-sufficiency, progressive energy policies (using the size of turbine not traditionally utilized by utilities), and an awareness of future energy costs and impacts that are not acceptable.

Activities to be conducted include:

  • Assessing the electric power potential and availability for commercial and residential users on tribal land, or for export to utility grid.

  • Assessing the economic and financial feasibility of the project by using a cost/benefit analysis from the perspectives of society, and that of an owner. If benefits outweigh the costs, a decision for development will be made.

  • Assessing potential for power purchase agreements with PG&E by ascertaining size and type of generating facility with regard to proximity to transmission lines, making sure acceptable interconnection equipment and standards are met, and the length and dollar amount of the contract are agreeable.

  • Assessing the potential long term competitive power costs by reviewing what the current and anticipated price for power from the utility, and comparing this with the generation, use and cost of power on Hoopa Tribal Land.

  • Assessing increased revenue to the Tribe by:
    • Sale of electric energy
    • Commercial development, and subsidized power for Tribal Businesses
    • Increased skills and employability by Tribal Members
  • Assessing the potential increase of employment base by:
    • Construction employment by encouraging contractors to utilize local labor sources, and hiring Hoopa contractors

    • Operation employment once staff and management needs are determined by the number, type and complexity of the installations.

  • Assessing the short term and long term environmental impacts that could result from implementation of hydroelectric projects by reviewing historical information and impacts from similar installations and geography. Anticipated impacts can also be lessened by review and application of proper construction and erosion control techniques, and a review of riparian and aquatic impacts and the estimated cost to mitigate.

Project Location

The Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation is recognized as the largest reservation in California. Established by Executive Order issued by President Ulysses S. Grant, on June 23, 1876, the Reservation encompasses 92,160 acres. As currently surveyed, the Reservation is nearly a square with sides 12 miles in length or approximately 144 square miles. This area encompasses roughly 50% of the original Hupa aboriginal territory. The Reservation is located in the northeastern corner of Humboldt County in Northern California. It lies approximately 50 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean, and 375 miles north of San Francisco, California. The Reservation is bisected in a north-south direction by the Trinity River. A number of smaller streams with watersheds less than 6,000 acres in size are located throughout the Reservation. Although relatively small, each of these streams flow into the Trinity River. They provide habitat for anadromous fishes, sources of domestic drinking water and hydro power.

Project Status

This project is complete. For details, see the final report (PDF 3.1 MB). Download Adobe Reader.

The project was competitively selected under the Tribal Energy Program's FY 2005 solicitation, "Renewable Energy Development on Tribal Lands," and started May 2006. For more information, see the project status reports from October 2006 (PDF 83.4 MB) and November 2007 (PDF 7.7 MB). Download Adobe Reader.

For additional details, consult the project contact.

Project Contact

Curtis Miller
Environmental Manager
Hoopa Tribal EPA
P.O. Box 1130
Hoopa, CA 95546
Phone: 530-625-5515, ext. 306
Fax: 530-6625-5446
E-mail: cmiller@pcweb.net