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Keweenaw Bay Indian Community - 2010 Project

Project Overview
Tribe/Awardee: Keweenaw Bay Indian Community
Location: Baraga, MI
Project Title: Keweenaw Bay Wind Energy Feasibility Study
Type of Application: Feasibility
DOE Grant Number: DE-EE0002513
Project Amounts:
DOE: $207,680
Awardee: $15,000
Total: $222,680
Project Status: See project status
Project Period
of Performance:
Start: April 2010
End: March 2012


The Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC) is committed to preserving our natural environment and reducing the amount of fossil fuels consumed while developing "green" business manufacturing jobs on tribal lands. The tribe's Comprehensive Strategic Plan seeks to diversify the tribal economy through the creation of alternative energy businesses, such as wind, solar, and biomass facilities while protecting the waters of Lake Superior and tribal inland lakes and streams. In addition, the community desires to utilize clean, green energy resources to promote the self-sufficiency of the tribal nation.

The objective of the study is to preserve the environment and maintain the tribe's cultural goals of using the resources of the land wisely. To reduce tribal consumption of fossil fuels, mercury, and carbon dioxide emissions, which harm its water and land, KBIC has decided to evaluate the opportunities of utilizing wind power. Preliminary projections show that the tribe may be able to eliminate pollution from its land in a cost-effective manner. This study will evaluate wind capacity and KBIC's current energy consumption while projecting the feasibility of converting to wind power for operations at our major facilities.

This project will study the feasibility of wind power at two locations for the purpose of reducing the tribe's reliance upon fossil fuels and creating business opportunities, jobs, and revenue for the community.

Project Description


In June 2008, the Community Capacity Development Office of the U.S. Department of Justice and the Community Development Financial Institution Investment Fund of the U.S. Department of Treasury, along with Oweesta and KBIC, conducted a week-long community planning session to provide an economic development assessment and legal survey. The meetings were open to the public, and recommendations were developed with community input. One of the recommendations from this assessment was to create an Alternative & Renewable Energy Strategic Plan, which was completed with assistance from the Council for Energy Resource Tribes in the fall of 2008. This three-day planning session was also open to and attended by members of the Keweenaw Bay Community. KBIC support for alternative and renewable energy appears unopposed.

Project Objectives

The overall objective of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community is to evaluate the alternative energy (wind power) options to provide for self-sustainable energy utilization for tribal facilities, while reducing our reliance upon fossil fuels and protecting the environment. The project incorporates two identified objectives of the Strategic Energy Plan:

  1. Evaluate existing energy consumption of energy in tribal facilities.
  2. Develop environmental and economical improvements for alternative and renewable energy consumption for tribal facilities and the potential for exportation and sale of excess energy.

This goal is consistent with the culture, history, and current and future goals for our community.


This project will study the feasibility of wind power at two locations for the purpose of reducing our reliance upon fossil fuels and creating business opportunities, jobs, and revenue for the community. One wind-monitoring tower will assess the wind for a cluster of buildings, a casino, a community college, administrative offices, and a bingo hall. A tribe-owned motel will be included in this project. Additionally, the Baraga Maximum Security Prison, which is a facility of the State of Michigan, may want to enter into a power purchase agreement with Keweenaw Bay. This monitoring tower will also be utilized to power the tribe's "green" industrial park, including existing facilities and green manufacturing facilities, which are planned although not yet funded. One of these would be for the manufacture of wind turbine towers. All of these facilities are within a mile radius. Therefore, one wind monitoring tower is sufficient to monitor the wind speed for the future installation of a wind turbine or multiple turbines to provide power for all of these existing facilities. The second wind monitoring tower will assess wind for the tribe's existing fish hatchery and Natural Resources Department offices.

While preliminary wind maps display that the reservation is an excellent area for wind development on the shores of Lake Superior, evaluation of the best size, locations, and heights for wind turbine towers must be conducted. A consulting firm will be hired to monitor wind capacity and determine the optimal size and design of a wind turbine. A second firm will analyze the amount of energy the tribe consumes and how it may best covert to renewable energy, as well as project the cost savings and reductions in emissions and fossil fuel consumption. The consultants shall also evaluate the opportunity for carbon credit aggregation.

The feasibility study will include preliminary engineering, cost evaluations, financing options, and the necessary agreements procedures in a comprehensive project plan allowing the tribe to move to the next phase of the project, the implementation stage, immediately upon the completion of this study. Training will be provided to tribal members to develop a plan for long-term operation and maintenance of the turbines.

Project Location

The L'Anse Indian Reservation is the land base of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community of the Lake Superior Bands of Chippewa Indians (successor inherent of the L'Anse and Ontonagon Bands). It is located primarily in two noncontiguous sections on either side of the Keweenaw Bay in Baraga County in the Upper Peninsula of the state of Michigan. The largest section lies in northern L'Anse Township and western Arvon Township on the east side of Keweenaw Bay, while the smaller section lies in northern Baraga Township on the west side of Keweenaw Bay. There is also a much smaller (43.07 acre) part of the reservation in northern Chocolay Township in northeastern Marquette County. The total land area of the reservation is 92.132 sq mi (238.622 km2).

Project Status

The 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 April 2010.

The November 2009, 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

Wayne Swartz Jr.
16429 Beartown Road
Baraga, MI 49908

Gregg Nominelli
16429 Beartown Road
Baraga, MI, 49908