Salish and Kootenai Tribes, Confederated Tribes of the Flathead Reservation - 2012 Project

Project Overview
Tribe/Awardee: Salish and Kootenai Tribes, Confederated Tribes of the Flathead Reservation
Location: Ronan, MT
Project Title: Feasibility Study to Determine the Technical and Economic Viability of a Co-generation Biomass Fuel Power Plant for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes
Type of Application: Feasibility
DOE Grant Number: DE-EE0005625
Project Amounts:
DOE: $807,239
Awardee: $0
Total: $807,239
Project Status: See project status
Project Period
of Performance:
Start: October 2012
End: March 2014

Summary

Under this project, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT) will determine technical and economic feasibility of a woody-biomass-fueled co-generation plant that would utilize fuels generated by tribal forest management activities to provide electricity and heat to tribal buildings at the tribal headquarters in Pablo, Montana, and/or generate electricity for the wholesale market. This will involve conducting a comprehensive feasibility study that will identify the options or scenarios that are both technically and economically feasible, identifying financing options for implementation of viable options, and developing a business plan for implementation.

Project Description

Background

The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes' vision with respect to energy is to provide energy security through reliable, clean, and affordable sources while protecting traditional cultural resources (Tribal Resolution 11-05). The Tribes reaffirmed their commitment to this vision in May 2010, when they created a Tribal Department of Energy (TDOE), the purpose of which is, in part, to "formulate and implement a coordinated Tribal energy policy to deal with the energy demands of the Tribes and to plan, coordinate, support, and manage a balanced and comprehensive research and development program for the commercial use of energy resources, including hydroelectric, solar, wind, biomass, and geothermal."

To assure a comprehensive and coordinated approach, the tribal council established by resolution (Number 11-05) an energy team consisting of the tribal council and key staff across the tribal government. These various measures on the part of the tribal council are designed to help the Tribes achieve their overall vision of building a more sustainable society and restoring a sustainable environment. This project, aimed at providing the information necessary for the Tribes to determine the feasibility of utilizing logging slash from existing timber sales and fuel treatments to generate electricity and steam for use in tribal facilities and/or generate the electricity for sale on the wholesale market will help the Tribes meet a primary objective of their Comprehensive Resources Plan: to pursue energy conservation measures for tribal facilities.

Project Objectives

The objective of this project is to determine technical and economic feasibility of a woody-biomass-fueled co-generation plant that would utilize fuels generated by tribal forest management activities to provide electricity and heat to tribal buildings at the tribal headquarters in Pablo and/or generate electricity for the wholesale market.

This will involve conducting a comprehensive feasibility study that will identify the options or scenarios that are both technically and economically feasible, identifying financing options for implementation ofviable options, and developing a business plan for implementation.

The technical and economic viability of co-generation biomass power production and fuel supply will be addressed under two scenarios, as follows:

Constructing a small, roughly 2.5-megawatt (MW) co-generation biomass plant adjacent to the tribal headquarters in Pablo that would utilize approximately 17,000 bone dry tons (BDT) of fuel annually (approximately the amount of biomass fuel available on the reservation from commercial slash and fuel-reduction thinning). The electricity and steam generated would be used to power and heat tribal buildings in Pablo. Surplus electricity, if any, would likely be sold to the local utility (Mission Valley Power).

Constructing an approximately 20-MW co-generation biomass plant adjacent to the tribal headquarters in Pablo that would utilize approximately 135,000 BDT of fuel annually. In this scenario, fuels generated from forest management activities on USFS lands would supplement tribal fuels. The electricity and steam generated would be used to power and heat tribal buildings in Pablo, MT, and surplus electric energy would be sold on the wholesale power market.

Project Scope

The analyses will include assessing the availability and accessibility of biomass fuels on the reservation and on U.S. Forest Service (USFS) lands, as appropriate; determining the contractual relationship and business models necessary to assure long-term fuel supply; determining the viability of the proposed sites; analyzing electric wholesale pricing for both electricity and renewable energy credit (REC) markets; accounting for interconnection and transmission considerations for the sale of surplus electrical energy under each option; accounting for environmental considerations; developing an economic and business model analysis of each option; and developing a plan for implementation if specific options are determined to be feasible.

The feasibility study will follow a systematic approach in assessing and ranking the technical and economic feasibility of each option, recognizing that the appropriateness will depend not only on technical and economic issues but also on institutional and organizational issues. The completed study will provide the Tribes with all of the information needed to commit necessary resources to determine whether to pursue the construction of a biomass plant and, if so, which option to pursue. It will also present an annotated list of financing options and possible funding sources for implementation and a business plan for implementation.

Project Location

This project (feasibility study) will be coordinated at the tribal headquarters in Pablo on the Flathead Indian Reservation in western Montana.

Project Status

The project was competitively selected under the Tribal Energy Program's fiscal year 2011 funding opportunity announcement "Renewable Energy Development and Deployment in Indian Country" (DE-FOA-0000422) and started in October 2012.

The March 2014 project status report provides more information.

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

Project Contact

Charmel Gillin
Business Manager – CSKT Department of Energy
PO Box 278
Pablo, MT  59855
406-675-2700 x1253
Crg406@gmail.com

Lisa Shourds
PO Box 278
Pablo, MT 59855
406-675-2700
lisas@cskt.org