Council of Athabascan Tribal Governments - 2007 Project

Project Overview
Tribe/Awardee: Council of Athabascan Tribal Governments
Location: Fort Yukon, AK
Project Title: Developing a Regional Wood Energy Program to Displace Diesel in the Yukon Flats Region
Type of Application: Feasibility
DOE Grant Number: DE-FG36-07GO17079
Project Amounts:
DOE: $149,997
Awardee: $0
Total: $149,997
Project Status: See project status
Project Period
of Performance:
Start: September 2007
End: December 2008

Summary

The Council of Athabascan Tribal Governments (CATG) is a consortium of ten Gwich'in and Koyukon Athabascan tribes settled in 10 remote villages and are linked by the Yukon River System. The CATG mission is to maintain the Yukon Flats region as Indian Country by asserting traditional rights and taking responsibility for developing tribal technical capacity to manage the land and resources. It is the intent of CATG to explore and develop all opportunities for a renewable and self-sufficient energy program for each of the villages. CATG envisions utilization of forest resources both for construction and energy as one of the best long-term strategies for integrating the economic goals for the region as well as supporting cultural and social goals.

This feasibility project will focus on biomass utilization for (1) heat, and (2) future electrical generation within the region. An initial determination has already been made regarding the importance of wood energy as a primary source of renewable energy to displace diesel fuel in the Yukon Flats region. A desktop study of other potential renewable resources was conducted in 2006.

Project Description

A prefeasibility wood resources assessment was conducted for Fort Yukon in 2006. A regional model was developed based on analysis conducted in Fort Yukon for developing a regional wood harvesting and village delivery system to displace diesel for heating major buildings. Feasibility studies for each of the participating villages are needed to test and validate the overall economic and ecological feasibility of utilizing wood for heat and future electrical generation. The Alaska Energy Authority has reviewed all documentation of this model to date and is a partner in supporting the development of the wood energy program. The Alaska Wood Energy Development Task Group is supportive of the program and will review applications for installing boilers in Fort Yukon in the summer of 2007.

Objective

An overall goal of CATG is to empower Yukon Flats tribes to work collaboratively to satisfy community energy needs while reinvesting in communities, promoting economic development, and ensuring environmental integrity. One of the stated goals of CATG is to develop its forest resources and to become less reliant on diesel fuel as the primary source of energy. It is the intent of CATG to explore and develop all opportunities for a renewable and self sufficient energy program for each of the villages. CATG envisions utilization of forest resources both for construction and energy as one of the best long term strategies for integrating the economic goals for the region as well as supporting cultural and social goals.

Scope

The scope of the grant activities is regional and will include all participating villages. The CATG tribes working through the Natural Resource Department of CATG will collaborate with a subcontractor as a grant subrecipient to achieve the following objectives:

  • Conduct wood energy feasibility studies in each of the participating CATG villages for heating and electrical energy.

  • Using information from the feasibility studies, refine the development of the harvest and wood delivery system for each of the CATG villages to determine if costs are economically feasible and harvest is ecologically sustainable for wood heat and for electrical generation.

There are four primary aspects to the project:

  1. Pre- and post-communication with tribes, village corporations, and building and power plant administrators

  2. Field data collection
    1. Heat loads and fuel usage for large buildings, electrical loads and fuel usage for power within each village
    2. Forest resource assessment within harvest distance of the village to determine wood costs and sustainable harvest amounts

  3. Heat feasibility assessments
    1. Cost for wood delivery and handling in each village
    2. Type and cost of boiler installations for major buildings in each village

  4. Electrical feasibility assessment for Fort Yukon
    1. Work with the contract engineer to research potential technologies and companies that can be used for a reliable diesel biomass hybrid electrical power plant for Fort Yukon, including travel to functioning installations of select technology companies
    2. Estimate the costs of the technology
    3. Estimate the amount of biomass needed, how much diesel will be replaced and the costs associated with each.

The subcontractor will take the lead and coordinate with CATG Natural Resources Department to implement the project. CATG will be responsible for facilitating venues and opportunities for all communications and the subcontractor will provide information. The subcontractor will be responsible for coordinating collection and processing of field data collected. The subcontractor will be responsible for contracting and working with an engineer to conduct feasibility studies, developing forest harvesting, and determining sustainable harvest levels and wood costs.

Project Location

The Council of Athabascan Tribal Governments (CATG) is a consortium of ten Gwich'in and Koyukon Athabascan tribes located throughout the Yukon Flats. Arctic Village, Beaver, Birch Creek, Canyon Village, Chalkyitsik, Circle, Fort Yukon, Rampart, Stevens Village and Venetie are the remote villages comprising CATG. The Yukon River and its tributaries — including the Porcupine, Chandalar, Birch Creek and Black Rivers — tie the people of the Yukon Flats villages together. Located deep in the interior of Alaska the Yukon Flats is transected by the Arctic Circle. Stretching from the White Mountains in the south to the Brooks Range in the north, the Yukon Flats encompasses an area of approximately 55,000 square miles (about the size of Wisconsin).

Project Status

The project is complete. For details, see the final report (PDF 2.8 MB). Download Adobe Reader.

The project was competitively selected under the Tribal Energy Program's fiscal year 2007 solicitation, "Feasibility of Renewable Energy Projects on Tribal Lands," and started September 2007. For more information, see the project status report from November 2007 (PDF 2.5 MB) or consult one of the project contacts.

Project Contact

Ben Stevens
Special Project Coordinator
Council of Athabascan Tribal Governments
P.O. Box 283
Fort Yukon, AK 99740
Phone: 907-662-2587
E-mail: bstevens@catg.org

James Kelly
Acting Director
Council of Athabascan Tribal Governments
P.O. Box 33
Fort Yukon, AK 99740
Phone: 907-662-3333
E-mail: jkelly@catg.org