Cherokee Nation Businesses, LLC. - 2010 Project

Project Overview
Tribe/Awardee: Cherokee Nation Businesses, LLC.
Location: Catoosa, OK
Project Title: Cherokee Wind Energy Development
Type of Application: Development
DOE Grant Number: DE-EE0002498
Project Amounts:
DOE: $990,000
Awardee: $1,286,621
Total: $2,276,621
Project Status: See project status
Project Period
of Performance:
Start: July 2010
End: February 2012

Summary

Cherokee Nation Businesses, LLC (CNB) will conduct pre-construction activities in support of the design and installation of a 127.5 MW wind farm. If built, the wind farm would offset tribal electric load; sell excess electricity to local, regional and statewide off-takers; and establish a Native American Green Tag market.

Project Description

Background

Cherokee Nation is a federally recognized tribe comprising 284,932 members, with 182,229 Cherokee citizens living in Oklahoma. The governing body is a 17-member Tribal Council, which meets monthly. The tribal headquarters for the Cherokee Nation is in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. The jurisdiction of Cherokee Nation consists of a 14-county area in northeastern Oklahoma.

The mission of the Cherokee Nation is "ga-du-gi" — working together as individuals, families and communities for a better quality of life for this and future generations by promoting confidence, tribal culture and an effective, sovereign government. The wind energy project integrates with the goals of Cherokee Nation. In addition to gaming, profits from the wind farm will be reinvested in other businesses, further diversifying the portfolio and moving the Nation closer to economic self-reliance. All energy produced or saved will contribute to the continued economic development for Cherokee Nation.

Cherokee Nation has three 100% owned enterprises: Cherokee Nation Businesses, LLC (CNB), Cherokee Nation Industries (CNI), and Cherokee Nation Enterprises, LLC (CNE). The enterprises are modeled after the Cherokee Nation, with each having its own board of directors but ultimately reporting to the Tribal Council. CNB is the parent company of the CNI and CNE.

Project Objectives

The ultimate objective of the wind farm development is to firmly establish CNB as the preeminent electrical energy supplier to Cherokee Nation, its subsidiaries, and the non-Cherokee businesses and industries in CNB's operating and distribution area. Also being pursued is knowledge in the area of wind farm development, including but not limited to: resource assessment; turbine selection, transmission and power purchase issues; transportation and erection; turbine commissioning; and maintenance and training. By developing wind energy, Cherokee Nation will employ electricians, technicians, and scientific monitoring personnel and provide training for future development sites associated with this technology. CNB intends to apply these acquired skills within a development entity that will assist other tribes in developing their own wind energy projects without the stigmas currently associated with energy development in Native America.

The objectives to be addressed as part of this project are limited to the following:

  • Complete Power Purchase Agreement(s). PPAs ate key to a successful wind project. CNB's Wind Energy Project Development Team has identified two potential customers for generated power.
  • Complete Phase II and Phase III of the transmission and interconnection study. The team will be working with the operating rural utility in the proposed area and will represent the wind project to the Southwest Power Pool.
  • Determine project size per verified location as it pertains to load and wind resource. Transmission/grid capacity and access are being addressed in a studies being performed by the Southwest Power Pool. The interconnect company has ensured the availability of capacity on the transmission line less than one mile from the project site.
  • Complete Wind Farm Project Cost Analysis. An outside consultant will certify the project wind data. Financial due diligence process has been initiated. Currently, CNB is evaluating several business models to investigate the most appropriate position for tribal economists and sustainability.
  • Gain knowledge in the area of wind farm development.

Scope

Task to be performed under this agreement are as follows:

  • Continue Phases II and III of the Transmission and Interconnect Study.
  • Negotiate interconnect and power purchase agreements.
  • Determine project size (MW).
  • Complete wind farm project cost analysis.
  • Complete environmental and NEPA studies.
  • Conduct soil sampling and design turbine foundations.
  • Complete turbine assessment and selection.
  • Design turbine communication system.
  • Lay out electrical and civil engineering.
  • Continue to gather load data.
  • Update the wind energy business plan.

Project Location

The tribal headquarters for Cherokee Nation is in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. The jurisdiction of Cherokee Nation consists of a 14-county area in northeastern Oklahoma. CNB has offices at Catoosa, Oklahoma, east of Tulsa.

The Chilocco property is the location of the wind farm and has 4,275 acres. The land designated for the wind farm is land in north-central Oklahoma, Kay County, which is the original property owned by Cherokee Nation that was again appropriated by an Act of Congress. The total land base for this project is 4,275 acres, divided into two separate tracts of land less than one mile apart. The tribe has selected a significant tract of Trust and Fee Land (2,633 acres) on the southwest/western part of the property, which is optimal for wind energy production, as well as a substation location for Kay Electric Cooperative. The other tract of land is on the eastern side of the Chilocco property (1,642 acres) and will be used for future expansion of the wind energy project.

Project Status

The project was competitively selected under the Tribal Energy Program's fiscal year 2009 funding opportunity announcement, "Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Deployment in Indian Country," and started in July 2010.

The November 2009, 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

Carol Wyatt
Cherokee Nation Businesses, LLC
777 West Cherokee St.
Catoosa, OK 74015
918-384-7873
carol.wyatt@cn-bus.com

Ross Swimmer
Cherokee Nation Businesses, LLC
777 West Cherokee St.
Catoosa, OK 74015
ross.swimmer@cn-bus.com