Winnebago Tribe - 2006 Project

Project Overview
Tribe/Awardee: Winnebago Tribe
Location: Winnebago, NE
Project Title: Wind Generation on Winnebago Tribal Lands
Type of Application: Feasibility
DOE Grant Number: DE-FG36-06GO16024
Project Amounts:
DOE: $198,881
Awardee: $174,907
Total: $373,788
Project Status: See project status
Project Period
of Performance:
Start: August 2006
End: December 2007

Summary

The tribe will conduct a wind feasibility study to determine the viability of energy self-sufficiency on the reservation. The study will evaluate potential power markets, preliminary systems designs, as well as assess ways to maintain tribal social and cultural values. The Winnebago Indian Reservation covers approximately 120,000 acres of crop land, woodland and pasture bordering the Missouri River. The wind generation feasibility study will consist of a detailed analysis resulting in determination of viability for a self-supply (on-Reservation) and/or power export development option.

Project Description

The Winnebago Tribe will conduct a wind feasibility study to determine the viability of energy self-sufficiency on the reservation. The study will evaluate potential power markets, preliminary systems designs, as well as assess ways to maintain tribal social and cultural values.

From May 2001 to May 2002, the Tribe conducted wind resource analysis with the use of a 20-meter anemometer under the Department of Energy's ("DOE") Native American Anemometer Loan Program. The anemometry was completed at a site adjacent to the Winnavegas Casino. The wind data collected was evaluated by an anemometer and an economic analysis was conducted for a potential project, and in a report to the Tribe dated September 24, 2002, indicated that such a project would be technically and economically feasible.

Those anemometry results showed promise for small-scale, self-supply generation. Because the Tribe envisioned a small turbine to serve only the casino load, the anemometer was placed on the casino campus. No terrain analysis or wind meteorology was conducted to optimize the location of the tower. A number of factors have caused the Tribe to consider the possibility of larger-scale generation, with the possibility of power export. However, wind data later made available to the Winnebago through the National Renewable Energy Laboratory ("NREL") and the Nebraska State Energy Office indicate even greater wind resource as high as Class 4 in other areas on the Winnebago Reservation, and as high as Class 6 in the surrounding area. This study will quantify the wind resource and assess the viability of small-scale and larger-scale generation.

Objective

Consistent with the Winnebago Tribal Vision & Strategic Energy Plan (referred to as "strategic energy plan" herein), the overarching objective in conducting this study is to utilize its results to advance the Tribe's near term energy management objectives. In general, the Tribe seeks to employ energy management as a partial means to accomplish its goals for (i) improved health, welfare, self-sufficiency, and creation of enhanced quality of life for the Winnebago People; and (ii) economic and community development goals. One of the key near term goals articulated in the Tribe's strategic energy plan is to "identify and act upon opportunities for development of Tribal renewable energy resources that meet Tribal needs, consistent with the Tribe's mission to preserve resources, cultural heritage, traditional values, and beliefs". Thus, development of renewable generation is a key component of the Tribe's overall energy management approach.

Scope

The wind generation feasibility study will consist of a detailed analysis resulting in determination of viability for a self-supply (on-Reservation) and/or power export development option. Leveraging the anemometry and analysis already completed by the Tribe with the assistance of NREL in May 2002, this subsequent work will more robustly characterize wind resources by utilizing a taller meteorological tower than used previously, with placement in an optimized location to assess the potential for market delivery of excess generation through interconnection to one of four nearby transmission lines.

The study will include evaluation of Tribal loads and resources (including conservation/energy efficiency/demand management options), and power export potential. The study will also include identification of potential power markets, environmental evaluation, preliminary system designs, and development of financial pro-formas. Other key elements of the proposed study include a Community Outreach program to foster awareness and support of project stakeholders.

The specific activities include:

  • Develop a project planning and oversight framework;

  • Analyze Tribal loads and resources, power markets and delivery options;

  • Analyze technology, system and environmental impacts;

  • Design the project plans: stakeholder outreach, financial plans, permitting and agreements, O&M, and sustainable implementation plan; and

  • Evaluate the project benefits and impacts.

Project Location

The Winnebago Indian Reservation is located in the northern half of Thurston County in northeastern Nebraska, and covers approximately 120,000 acres of crop land, woodland, and pasture. The County's total population (as of early 2004, inclusive of the Tribal members) is 7,171. The closest metropolitan areas to the Reservation are Omaha, Nebraska, located 88 miles to the south, and Sioux City, Iowa, located 21 miles to the north. The Reservation borders the Missouri River, and water transportation facilities/ports are available at Omaha, Sioux City, and Nebraska City. The largest community on the Reservation is the Village of Winnebago.

Project Status

This project is complete. For details, see the final report. The project was competitively selected under the Tribal Energy Program's FY2005 solicitation, "Renewable Energy Development on Tribal Lands," and started August 2006. The October 2006 presentation provides more information.

For other information, contact one of the project contacts.

Project Contact

Louis Houghton, Tribal Council Secretary
Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska
Blackhawk Community Center
P.O. Box 687
Winnebago, NE 68071
Telephone: (402) 878-3107
Email: lchoughton@yahoo.com