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Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation - 2002 Project

Project Overview
Tribe/Awardee: Warm Springs Reservation, Confederated Tribes of the
Location: Warms Springs, OR
Project Title: Feasibility Study for Assessing Wind Energy Potential on Warm Springs Tribal Lands
Type of Application: Feasibility
DOE Grant Number: DE-FC36-02GO12103
Project Amounts:
DOE: $436,439
Awardee: $57,146
Total: $493,585
Project Status: Complete  More
Project Period
of Performance:
Start: September 2002
End: September 2005


Warm Springs Power Enterprises, a corporate entity owned and operated by the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, will conduct a 36-month comprehensive wind energy resource assessment and development feasibility study.

The feasibility study will include monitoring of several tribal land sites to assess which of these sites has the greatest potential for an economically viable wind energy power project. The site with the greatest potential to be developed will be selected for additional detailed monitoring of wind resources. A site-specific preliminary engineering design and cost estimate will be prepared for the site with the greatest resource development potential. The detailed cost estimates will then become the basis for an economic feasibility study, which will evaluate various development ownership and power sales scenarios that are available in the power market. The end result will be a business plan, which can be presented to the tribal council for consideration.

Project Description


A major goal of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs is to promote self-sufficiency based on the development of sustainable resources on tribal land. The objective of the Warm Springs Wind Energy Assessment Program will be to assess wind energy potential on several parcels owned by the tribes to determine if there are sufficient reliable wind energy resources, which can be developed to supply competitive electric power.

Wind energy resource development is compatible with the Confederated Tribes' Integrated Resources Management Plan goals and objectives. These call for providing economic development opportunities for tribal members and determining the feasibility of renewable energy development to increase tribal energy production by 30 to 50 megawatts, to identify renewable energy areas for primary land use designations as energy sites (other land uses will be secondary), and to develop standards and guidelines for programs to assure that impacts are adequately mitigated.


A project team consisting of Warm Springs Power Enterprises staff, Warm Springs Department of Natural Resources staff, researchers from Oregon State University (OSU) and other consultants has been assembled by Warm Springs Power Enterprises to conduct a comprehensive wind energy assessment and a technical and economic feasibility study of the wind energy resources found on tribal lands of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs. Nine tribal land areas have been identified by the Confederated Tribes, utilizing Remote Area Weather Station (RAWS) data from reservation sites and input from other sources, as having potential for wind resources of moderate to high potential.

The nine sites will be screened initially for environmental, land use, and cultural conflicts, and sites with minimal conflicts will be monitored for one year to quantify wind resource potential. Sites will also be assessed for transmission access, road access, general construction constraints, and environmental site conditions. The site(s) with the highest wind energy potential and best infrastructure conditions for commercial development will be selected for a second phase of detailed wind energy monitoring. The selected site(s) will be monitored for an additional 12 to 14 months.

The second phase of wind monitoring will be done with multiple monitoring stations on the site(s) to quantify the terrain effects on the wind resources and to build an accurate wind flow model of the site. The detailed wind model will then be used to create a preliminary project design and cost estimate. The site model will determine the number of turbines that can be efficiently located on site and still avoid shadow or park and turbulence effects between turbine sites. The cost of power will be calculated utilizing various ownership and financial scenarios that may be available to the tribes, including tribal ownership, third party ownership, utility joint venture, and utility ownership. A business plan will be prepared which recommends a course of action for tribal council consideration. This business plan, if approved by the tribal council, will contain sufficient information to initiate development of the wind energy site, including the start of detailed engineering, site licensing, and project finance discussion. Power generation is a major goal of the Confederated Tribes' long-term economic plans.

Project Location

The Warm Springs Reservation is located in Central Oregon. The nine preliminary sites have been identified for further evaluation. Upon additional review of existing RAWS weather data, some sites may be dropped and others added to the study plan. In general, it is assumed that nine sites will be evaluated, including four general areas located on the Warm Springs Reservation. These sites are:

  • Handley Line Ridge
  • China Hat
  • Mutton Mountain Ridge
  • The Island

Five off-reservation tribal lands are located in north central Oregon near the Columbia, Deschutes, and John Day Rivers. These sites are:

  • Condon, adjacent to the Sea West Condon Wind Farm
  • Philippi Ridge, in the Columbia River area
  • Deschutes Ridge, in the Columbia River area
  • Kaiser Ridge, near Big Eddy Substation, The Dalles Dam
  • Hood River, at tribes proposed Casino Site

Project Status

This project is complete. For details, see the final report (PDF 12.3 MB). Download Adobe Reader.

This project was competitively selected under the Tribal Energy Program's FY2002 solicitation, "Renewable Energy Development on Tribal Lands," and started in September 2002. For more information, see the project status reports from October 2005 (PDF 3.0 MB), October 2006 (PDF 9.6 MB) and November 2007 (PDF 1.4 MB). Download Adobe Reader.

For additional information, contact one of the project contacts.

Project Contact

Jim Manion, General Manager
Warm Springs Power Enterprise
P.O. Box 960
Warm Springs, OR 97761
Telephone: (541) 553-1046
Fax: (541) 553-3436

Robert Brunoe, General Manager
Natural Resources Department
Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs
P.O. Box C
Warm Springs, OR 97761
Telephone: (541) 553-2015
Fax: (541) 553-4929