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Keweenaw Bay Indian Community - 1995 Project

Project Overview
Tribe/Awardee: Keweenaw Bay Indian Community
Location: Baraga, MI
Project Title: Waste Wood to Energy Feasibility Study
Type of Application: Feasibility
DOE Grant Number: DE-FG48-95R810569
Project Amounts:
DOE: $181,500
Awardee: $10,000
Total: $191,500
Project Status: Complete  More
Project Period
of Performance:
Start: September 1995
End: November 1997

Project Description


A feasibility study was proposed for a 35 mW cogeneration plant by the Keweenaw Tribe of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The study considered the relevant aspects of fuel availability, power sales agreements, transmission requirements, and environmental studies.

Goals and Objectives

The objective of this study was to investigate the Keweenaw Bay Indian community's potential for developing a 35 mW cogeneration plant using waste wood as the primary feedstock.

Project Actions and Resultant Data

NTH Consultants, Ltd. completed the air modeling study needed for an Air Permit. Application and was in the process of beginning negotiations with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) when the project became delayed. It was later concluded that if this project was to continue, NTH Consultants would need to complete a second air modeling study due to the down time and EPA requirements regarding air permitting.

Michigan Technological University worked with Mr. Richard Shockley and Mr. Michael Chosa to determine waste wood availability. Although the project became delayed, the closing of a large-scale, local saw mill operation was not included in the study results and might have caused the need for a second study.

Mr. Richard Shockley traveled between the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, two other wood-fired power stations in Lower Michigan, and Lake Superior Power Company to meet with project coordinators and consultants.

Mr. James Ault, attorney and counselor at law, had begun working with the Michigan Public Service Commission regarding regulatory matters with the State.

Mr. Richard Shockley, up until his untimely death, and Mr. Rodger Kirshner worked tirelessly to negotiate a power sale agreement with the Upper Peninsula Power Company to no avail. The power sale negotiations became the main focus of the project because without a sale there would be no wood-fired plant.

Flood plain clearance was obtained from the Army Corps of Engineers, as well as state historical clearance from the State Historical Protection Office. An archeological survey was also done on site, with no significant findings.

Photo of Keweenaw Bay.

Results, Conclusions, Findings, and Recommendations

In June of 1997, Mr. Roger Silverthorn, taking the place of Mr. Richard Shockley, spoke to the tribe's realty officer, stating that it was obvious that the sale of power from the plant would not be able to keep a project of this magnitude running due to the low purchase rate offered from power buyers.

At that time, Mr. Michael Chosa took over the project as a consultant, and his progress is unknown, except for the fact that he did change the scope of work. At that time, it seems that the project was focusing on the feasibility of operating a gas-fired power plant and including Lake Superior Power as a technical/professional advisor.

Project Status

For current project status or additional information, contact the project contacts.

Project Contact

Keweenaw Bay Indian Community
Tribal Center, Route 1
Baraga, MI 49908
Telephone: (906) 353-6623