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Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin - 2011 Project

Project Overview
Tribe/Awardee: Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin
Location: Oneida, WI
Project Title: Oneida Nation Energy Optimization Model Development Project
Type of Application: First Steps (Planning)
DOE Grant Number: DE-EE00005055
Project Amounts:
DOE: $183,352
Awardee: $35,853
Total: $219,205
Project Status: See project status
Project Period
of Performance:
Start: September 2011
End: December 2013


The creation of this Oneida Nation Energy Optimization (ONEO) model is the next stage in the living document known as the Oneida Energy Security Plan. During this stage, Oneida intends to investigate current energy supplies and suppliers, renewable energy resources, renewable technology options, and associated economics.

Project Description


Regarding the specific renewable energy technologies, Oneida has experience with some and no experience with others. Oneida has invested in solar projects, with U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) assistance. Solar has significant potential; however, the economics to support it are not there. Incentives, tax breaks, tariffs, and nonprofit support are the primary influences that make solar a technology to consider. Many states are allowing for a solar carve-out in the portfolio standards. Based on findings by the ONEO model, a carve-out might prove beneficial for Oneida.

Currently, Oneida is collecting wind data to determine the wind characteristics in the northeast Wisconsin region, ultimately to see if wind is a viable resource for further development. However, the public's mistrust of the technology, the complexity of economics and power purchase agreements, and the extensive maintenance of these systems suggests that Oneida will have to put all of their eggs in one basket. Oneida has also invested in ground-source heat pumps and is collecting some data. Other regions around the nation seem to have adopted ground-source technology with few problems. Our findings show that construction costs for ground-source systems are inflated at the local level. Contractors seem to support commercial installations over residential installations.

Ultimately, the ONEO model is an opportunity for Oneida to explore the options, balance the choices, and invest wisely in a portfolio of energy systems that will support the tribe's commitment to culture, sustainability, and economic stability. Energy optimization is a step closer to enabling Oneida Nation of Wisconsin to balance short-term investments in energy with long-term stability.

Project Objectives

It is the goal of the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin to develop a report as a result of this project that outlines the energy options available to them and to produce a reduced-cost strategy to sustain the tribe through energy shortages that can be expected in the coming decades. An optimum mix of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies with conventional energy sources shall be determined to address budget limitations, impending energy shortages, and environmental challenges.

Project Scope

Staff members of the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin have compiled the first several chapters of the Oneida Energy Security Plan, which addresses general energy usage at the governmental and community levels. The next phase will consist of developing a relationship with an energy consultant, or consultants, that have an extensive background in energy technology, economic analysis, and organizational incorporation of recommendations. These consultants shall use all experiences and resources available to them to analyze the regional availability of energy resources to the tribe.

Project Location

Oneida Nation (Oneida) is located in northeast Wisconsin. The reservation is approximately 96 square miles (8 miles x 12 miles). The city of Green Bay is east of the reservation. Land use is primarily agricultural on the west two-thirds and suburban on the east one-third of the reservation. Approximately 4,000 tribally enrolled members live in the reservation.

Project Status

The project is complete. For additional details see the Final Report.

The project was competitively selected under the Tribal Energy Program's fiscal year 2011 funding opportunity announcement, "First Steps Toward Developing Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency on Tribal Lands" (DE-FOA-0000422), and started in September 2011.

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

For current project status or additional information, please contact the project contact(s).

Project Contact

Michael Troge
Environmental Project Manager
PO Box 365, Oneida, Wisconsin 54155

Patrick Pelky
Health & Safety Division Director – Environmental
PO Box 365, Oneida, Wisconsin 54155