Elk Valley Rancheria - 2010 Project

Project Overview
Tribe/Awardee: Elk Valley Rancheria
Location: Crescent City, CA
Project Title: Energy Efficiency and Alternatives Analysis
Type of Application: Feasibility
DOE Grant Number: DE-EE0002510
Project Amounts:
DOE: $76,738
Awardee: $6,755
Total: $83,493
Project Status: Complete  More
Project Period
of Performance:
Start: January 2010
End: March 2011

Summary

Elk Valley Rancheria will perform a comprehensive Energy Efficiency and Alternatives Study for tribal properties on the Rancheria. The tribe will assess the current and projected energy consumption of four of its facilities on the Rancheria through an energy audit to determine the best conservation options available to the tribe. While the tribe continues to practice and seek methods to improve energy efficiency, the tribe plans to evaluate all potential alternative energy sources, including renewable energy, to supply its future energy needs. Through the steps outlined and in tribal visioning sessions, the tribe will develop a plan of action to achieve its vision of self-sufficiency and economic diversification based upon energy efficiency analysis, identified conservation areas, and viable alternative energy sources. The tribe is committed to responsible environmental stewardship balanced with the goal of economic self-sufficiency.

The feasibility study will identify suitable energy alternatives and conservation methods that will benefit the tribe and tribal community through important reductions in cost. The lessons learned from these conservation efforts will yield knowledge that will serve a wider goal of executing energy efficiency measures and practices in tribal residences and business facilities. A 30% cut in energy usage for the four tribal facilities planned for study would yield approximately $85,000 in annual costs savings to the tribe; these savings will increase the tribe's capacity to obligate funding to provide essential government services and duties to the tribal citizenship, including cultural, member service, and tribal management programs.

Project Description

Background

Elk Valley Rancheria is located in Del Norte County, California's northernmost coastal county. Due to the Rancheria's rural location and rugged surrounding terrain, gas is trucked in and power supply is often inconsistent. Power fluctuations and outages inconvenience all residents of Del Norte County and damage electronic equipment, resulting in decreased revenues and increased operational expenses. With an investment of $150,000, the tribe made significant progress in stabilizing power losses and committed to making energy efficient improvements by installing a power conditioner to stabilize the current energy supply. In addition, propane power back-up generators were installed in two tribal facilities to overcome seasonal outages.

Elk Valley Rancheria members and tribal enterprises are challenged by increasing energy costs and undeveloped local energy resources. Elk Valley Rancheria currently lacks an energy program. The tribal government lacks sufficient information to make informed decisions about potential renewable energy resources, energy alternatives, and other energy management issues. To meet this challenge efficiently, Elk Valley Rancheria has a strong commitment to becoming energy self-sufficient by reducing its energy costs and promoting energy alternatives that stimulate economic development in the community. Elk Valley Rancheria recognizes the energy needs of the tribe and tribal members and visualizes that there will be energy self-sufficiency for the tribal members and their business enterprises with the full intention of using the tribe's resources to realize its goal of self-sufficiency.

By conducting this feasibility study on important energy efficient materials and alternative energy sources, the tribe expects to apply the information gathered to the resort project and future tribal endeavors.

Project Objectives

The mission of this project is to promote tribal energy efficiency and create employment and economic opportunities on tribal lands through analyses of energy alternatives, energy resources, and energy efficiency development. This project will provide energy planning that will work to capture economic and environmental benefits while continuing to respect tribal cultural practices and traditions. The goal is to understand current and future energy consumption and develop both regional and tribe-specific strategic energy plans, including action plans, to identify the energy alternatives.

Scope

The feasibility study will identify suitable energy alternatives and conservation methods that will benefit the tribe and tribal community through important reductions in cost. The lessons learned from these conservation efforts will yield knowledge that will serve a wider goal of executing energy efficiency measures and practices in tribal residences and business facilities.

The tribe will use baseline audits to assess current and historic energy use at the four Rancheria-owned facilities. Past electric and gas billing statements have been retained for review for the buildings that will be audited. A comparative assessment of the various energy usages will determine the demand, forecast future need, and identify the differences in energy costs, narrowing the focus of the work and defining its scope. The tribe's peak demand periods will help determine the scope of need for alternative energy sources.

The facilities on the Rancheria that will be analyzed for the energy efficiency audits consist of the Elk Valley Rancheria Head Start Facility and Small Community Center, the Gaming Commission Offices, the tribal government office complex and large community center, and Elk Valley Casino. During the construction of some of the older facilities (Gaming Commission offices and the casino), limited energy efficient methods were employed. The tribe's newer facilities, such as Head Start and the tribal government facilities, have been built with "greener" construction materials and the implementation of State of California Uniform Building Codes to meet Title 24 Energy Efficiency standards. Using best practices for preparation of the feasibly study, consultants will perform a detailed economic analysis of the benefits to each facility and the likelihood of earning a return on investment within the expected time frame. The high-level economic screening analysis, based on electric and propane gas rates as well as anticipated power, heating, and cooling loads, will yield meaningful data. The tribe can look back several years to track historical use and reasonably predict future use.

Project Location

Elk Valley Rancheria is located in Del Norte County, California's northernmost coastal county, roughly halfway between Portland, Oregon (330 miles north), and San Francisco, California (350 miles south).

Project Status

This project is complete. For details, see the final report.

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 January 2010.

The November 2009 and October 2010 and November 2011 project status reports provide more information.

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

Project Contact

Dale Miller
Elk Valley Rancheria
2332 Howland Hill Road
Crescent City, CA 95531
707-464-4680
dmiller@elk-valley.com

Chris F. Howard
Elk Valley Rancheria
2332 Howland Hill Road
Crescent City, CA 95531
707-464-4680
choward@elk-valley.com