Blackfeet Tribe - 1994 Project

Project Overview
Tribe/Awardee: Blackfeet Tribe
Location: Browning, MT
Project Title: Small-Scale Utility Grade Wind Turbine Demonstration and Feasibility Study
Type of Application: Feasibility
DOE Grant Number: DE-FG48-94R810524
Project Amounts:
DOE: $126,607
Awardee: $25,142
Total: $151,749
Project Status: Complete  More
Project Period
of Performance:
Start: September 1994
End: September 1996

Project Description

Introduction

The Blackfeet Tribe submitted a proposal on May 17, 1994, and received funding from the Department of Energy (DOE), under Title XXVI, Section 2606, Tribal Government Energy Assistance Program, pursuant to the Energy Policy Act of 1992. The proposal was entitled, "Preparation of a Comprehensive Development Plan for Electric Power Generation at the Blackfeet Indian Reservation Utilizing Renewable and Petroleum Energy Resources." The tribe was notified of the funding in the latter part of October 1994, and commenced activities under the grant in the beginning of November 1994. The DOE Planning Grant endeavors have spanned approximately two years.

Under this grant, a state-of-the-art, commercially available wind electric generation facility with a capacity of 100 kW was erected in 1995. The unit was designed to provide verifiable performance data regarding power output and the supply-demand economics pertinent to the power usage pattern at the community college. The project has been monitoring performance for the hardware and evaluating the data related to performance. The study included considerations of public reaction, local government response, the extent to which the project has stimulated the interest of local educators and educational institutions, and the degree to which local expertise and investigation have been stimulated.

The photos show the demonstration wind turbine from various angles, with Glacier National Park and the Flathead mountain range in the background.

The Blackfeet Reservation in northwest Montana has a significant wind resource. The project included measurement of this resource at several sites on the reservation, and the installation and operation of a utility-grade 100-kilowatt wind turbine. The turbine supplies electricity to the tribal community college, and excess power is sold to the local utility.

Objectives

The proposed project was designed to assist the Blackfeet Tribal Business Council in policy-making and planning concerning the development of electric power generating facilities. The first objective, an economic feasibility study, was developed. This feasibility study provided the foundation and scope of the second objective, the compilation of near-term and long-range energy development plans.

Project Actions and Resultant Data

The following narrative of this final performance report will summarize activities that were completed under the DOE Planning Grant scope of work addressed in the tribe's grant proposal.

In the middle of November 1994, Don Kittson, Tribal attorney, and Jeanne Baker, project manager, met with DOE Denver support staff regarding the duties, rules, and responsibilities (of both the financial and narrative reporting required) under the DOE Planning Grant. We discussed with DOE staff the project's scope of work. In addition, we met with a potential consultant being considered to assist the tribe with the project.

On March 28, 1995, the tribe received approval from DOE to entertain a sole-source consulting contract with Mr. Wyatt Rogers, president of III Sigma Company. The subcontractors that assisted III Sigma Company were the following: Dr. Don Hardy of Pan Aero Corporation, Mr. Don Moore of PLM Technologies, and Ray Loloff of Council of Energy Resource Tribes. Mr. Rogers and Mr. Hardy were the key consultants responsible for the preparation of The Blackfeet Tribe's Energy Resource Assessment and Implementation for Electric Energy Development, or basically, the tribe's electric energy development plan. In the latter part of November 1995, the tribe received the plan from III Sigma Company.

In December 1995, the tribe participated in the DOE Conference, "Bridging the Gap in Financing Indian Energy Resource Development: Picking Up Where Title XXVI Leaves Off." The conference was held in Santa Fe, N.M. Representing the tribe was Jeanne Baker and Wyatt Rogers. A presentation was provided regarding the Blackfeet tribe's energy plan.

On Jan. 5, 1996, Jeanne Baker was terminated due to lack of funds. So, for a period of time, the project was stagnant and approximately only 5% of the project remained to be completed. Minimal activity was engaged during a period of six months.

Then, in June 1996, Mr. Joe Gervais was delegated the responsibility of administering the grant. A meeting was held, and on July 8, 1996, a consulting contract was approved to have Jeanne Baker assist in the completion of the project.

On July 29, 1996, Wyatt Rogers, Joe Gervais, and Jeanne Baker gave a presentation to the Blackfeet Tribal Business Council during a special session.

From July 30-31, 1996, Jeanne Baker and Wyatt Rogers attended the Tribal Wind Energy Conference in Rocky Boy, Mont. The Blackfeet Tribe was the first participant to present their planning grant to the group.

The Blackfeet Tribal Business Council held a DOE Planning Discussion Meeting in Polson, Mont., from Sept. 17-18, 1996. The main purpose of the meeting was to determine what the tribe wanted to do with the plan. At the end of the meeting, the Tribal Council agreed to obtain a consultant/financial investment company to review and propose a financial package to consider the development of a wind energy project on the Blackfeet Reservation. The tribe is well aware of the obstacles it is facing, such as, electricity transmission and marketing limitations. But it agreed that this plan would not be shelved due to the completion of the DOE Planning Grant. The reason the meeting was held in Polson was that staff and Tribal Council were able to visit and tour Kerr Dam, which is a hydro-power plant operated by the Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribe.

Prior to the approval of the plan, the tribe directed the Blackfeet Tribe Energy Development Task Force to review and fulfill the tribe's in-kind contribution obligation. The tribe via Resolution S-97 then approved the Comprehensive Electric Energy Development Plan. The resolution was approved by unanimous vote and signed on Sept. 26, 1996.

The final activity under the DOE Planning Grant was to send Ted Williamson (Tribal Council member), Don Kittson, and Jeanne Baker to visit and tour Hoover Dam. The tribe at some point may consider the development of a 4 mW hydro-electric project, as recommended in the Electric Energy Development Plan.

Results, Conclusions, Findings, and Recommendations

The Blackfeet Tribe has fulfilled their obligation under the DOE Planning Grant. The goals and objectives have been met and the tribe has completed the DOE Planning Grant.

Project Status

For project status or additional information, contact the project contact.

Project Contact

The Blackfeet Tribe of Montana
PO Box 850
Browning, MT 59417
Telephone: (406) 338-7901