Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation - 2010 Project

Project Overview
Tribe/Awardee: Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation
Location: Poplar, MT
Project Title: Electricity Generation from Geothermal Resources on the Fort Peck Reservation in Northeast Montana
Type of Application: Feasibility
DOE Grant Number: DE-EE0002511
Project Amounts:
DOE: $233,170
Awardee: $0
Total: $0
Project Status: See project status
Project Period
of Performance:
Start: April 2010
End: June 2012

Summary

The feasibility analysis will fully characterize the Fort Peck Reservation’s geothermal resource, as well as examine the economic, technical, environmental, social, and tribal issues involved in developing geothermal resources for electrical generation.

This feasibility analysis will be performed to better define the geothermal resource underlying the Fort Peck Reservation, compiling historical research as well as conducting original research using the latest geophysical, geochemical, and geological sampling methods. In addition, the feasibility analysis will examine the economic, technical, environmental, and cultural/social issues involved in developing the tribe’s geothermal water for electrical generation. A business plan will also be developed to give the Fort Peck’s Assiniboine and Sioux tribal leaders clear direction on how to proceed with commercial development of the geothermal resource.

Project Description

Background

Fort Peck Reservation is home to two separate Indian nations, each composed of numerous bands and divisions. The Sioux divisions of Sisseton/Wahpetons, the Yanktonais, and the Teton Hunkpapa are all represented. The Assiniboine bands of Canoe Paddler and Red Bottom are represented as well.

The Fort Peck Indian Reservation, located in northeastern Montana, overlies large volumes of deep geothermal water. This geothermal resource is located in the Madison Limestone formation at depths of 5,500 to 7,500 feet. Although no hot springs are visible on the reservation, water temperatures within oil wells that intercept these geothermal resources in the Madison Formation range from 150 to 265°F. Preliminary studies indicate that hot water is rising from deeper formation into the Madison Formation and other shallower formations along faults and fracture systems, and spreading laterally in permeable zones. Flow rate from these hot water wells is significant, with estimates exceeding 40,000 barrels per day of potential production of 265°F water.

Initial geothermal research on the Fort Peck Reservation was conducted under a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) grant program in 1979. A cursory review of this 1979 data was conducted by Black Mountain Technology in 2005. This review confirmed the potential for geothermal energy development on the Fort Peck Reservation, with estimates of water temperature between 180°F and 265°F at depths of 5,500 to 7,500 feet. Initial surveys suggest that at least 20,000 barrels per day of geothermal water over 260°F is available, which could possibly be doubled in flow with increased well stimulation.

Although some research was conducted on the geothermal resources of the Fort Peck Reservation almost 30 years ago, very little new analyses of the geothermal resource or its potential development has been done since that time. A few cursory studies have been conducted, but no thorough review of historical data or new fieldwork has been done to gain a better picture of the potential of the geothermal resource.

Project Objectives

A feasibility analysis will be performed to better define the geothermal resource underlying the Fort Peck Reservation and a business plan developed to give Fort Peck's Assiniboine and Sioux tribal leaders clear direction on how to proceed with commercial development of the geothermal resource.

The result of the feasibility analysis will provide the Fort Peck tribes with a clear blueprint on how to develop their extensive geothermal energy resource for electrical production, provide energy savings to the tribal members, reduce the use of fossil fuels, and hopefully provide employment opportunities for power plant management.

Scope

Project activities will commence with initial tribal educational meetings and initial research. Next, background geothermal resource data will be compiled and analyzed, and a plan for field work will be developed. Preliminary socioeconomic and technical analyses will also commence. Final analysis of field research will be compiled. This research information will then be fed into the final designs for the economic analysis, as well as the final business plan and systems design scenarios. Tribal energy issues, including power purchase agreements and potential project financing mechanisms, will be assessed and will also feed into the final business plan design. An educational meeting with be held with the tribal council and tribal members to discuss the conclusions and recommendations of the analysis.

Project Location

The Fort Peck Reservation is located in the extreme northeast corner of Montana, on the north side of the Missouri River. The Reservation is 110 miles long and 40 miles wide, encompassing approximately 3,200 square miles.

Project Status

The project was competitively selected under the Tribal Energy Program's fiscal year 2009 funding opportunity announcement, "Assessing the Feasibility of Renewable Energy Development and Energy Efficiency Deployment on Tribal Lands," and started in April 2010.

The October 2010, November 2011, November 2012, and March 2014 project status reports provide more information.

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

Project Contact

Walter White Tail Feather
PO Box 1027
Poplar, MT 59255
406-768-3413
walter@fortpeckenergy.org