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Salish and Kootenai Tribes, Confederated Tribes of the Flathead Reservation: S&K Holding Company - 2007 Project

Project Overview
Tribe/Awardee: Salish and Kootenai Tribes, Confederated Tribes of the Flathead Reservation/S&K Holding Company
Location: Ronan, MT
Project Title: Biomass Feasibility Analysis
Type of Application: Feasibility
DOE Grant Number: DE-FG36-07GO17074
Project Amounts:
DOE: $117,744
Awardee: $4,200
Total: $121,944
Project Status: See project status
Project Period
of Performance:
Start: September 2007
End: December 2008


The intent of this project is to evaluate the potential to utilize the abundant biomass resources at select facilities on the Flathead Reservation. Because biomass thermal (heating) applications are often cost-effective, the Salish and Kootenai Holding Company (S&K Holding Company) of the Flathead Reservation will assess the potential for utilizing biomass energy heating systems for existing and new facilities, including:

  • An existing tribal forestry greenhouse
  • An existing public health facility
  • A planned prerelease care facility with 40 or more beds (preliminary approval obtained)
  • A planned new building for lands, natural resources and forestry staff
  • A planned kiln for lumber operations (Flathead Lathe and Dowel Mill)
  • A planned tribal health building.

S&K Holding Company has selected a mix of existing and planned facilities. The existing facilities have high heating loads because of their size and the extremely cold climate (8200 Heating Degree Days compared to a base temperature of 65°F). Retrofit of larger facilities is possible if the energy savings are large enough to offset the capital costs. The new facilities are just in the planning stage, allowing for incorporation of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies before plans are finalized, precluding evaluation of options.

Project Description

The Salish and Kootenai tribes will develop an energy efficiency and renewable energy strategic plan. Development of this plan is important to maximize tribal economic development opportunities. The proposed project plan includes:

  1. Understanding current and forecasted tribal energy consumption by end use
  2. Creating a vision of where the tribes intend to go with energy issues
  3. Building tribal capacity with regard to energy issues
  4. Identifying energy issues and opportunities relevant to the tribe
  5. Develop a strategic energy plan, including an action plan.


The Salish and Kootenai tribes have adopted goals for inclusion of renewable resources in all new facilities and need to understand how the local resource base can help meet those goals. Implicit in these goals is the continuing need for economic development initiatives that retain energy dollars in the local economy. S&K Holding Company seeks to develop local jobs that match the skills and experience of the tribal membership. The goals of the project are to:

  • Develop economically viable biomass applications using readily available renewable biomass fuel sources
  • Provide new and meaningful permanent employment, and retain and expand existing regional employment (logging)
  • Enhance the operational reliability and economic performance of the Flathead Lathe and Dowel Mill.


The feasibility project will address specific supply, demand, technology, regulatory, financial and cultural considerations to allow the tribes to make an economic business case for moving forward.

Project Location

The Flathead Indian Reservation, comprising over 1.2 million acres, is home to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. The tribes are a combination of the Salish, the Pend d'Oreille and the Kootenai. Of the 7005 enrolled tribal members, about 4500 live on or near the reservation. North of Interstate 90 between Missoula and Kalispell, the fertile valleys and towering mountain peaks of northwestern Montana surround the Flathead Reservation.

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 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 1.8 MB).

For additional information, consult one of the project contacts.

Project Contact

Mary Driscoll
S&K Holding Company, Inc.
56749 Highway 93
Ronan, MT 59864
Phone: 406-883-4317

Steven J. Clairmont
General Manager
S&K Holding Company, Inc.
56749 Highway 93
Ronan, MT 59864
Phone: 406-883-4317