Makah Indian Tribe - 2002 Project

Project Overview
Tribe/Awardee: Makah Indian Tribe
Location: Neah Bay, WA
Project Title: Comprehensive Renewable Energy Feasibility Study for Makah Indian Tribe
Type of Application: Feasibility
DOE Grant Number: DE-FC36-02GO12110
Project Amounts:
DOE: $127,926
Awardee: $0
Total: $127,926
Project Status: Complete  More
Project Period
of Performance:
Start: September 2002
End: September 2004


The Makah Indian Reservation is conducting a comprehensive feasibility study to demonstrate the potential sustainability of renewable energy development on tribal lands. The feasibility study will include an assessment of wind and micro-hydroelectric potential, and will conclude with a business plan to obtain financing for the implementation of a sustainable renewable energy project.

Project Description


Over the last 10 years, the tribe has developed relationships with renewable energy developers interested in developing large-scale projects on the Makah Reservation. Each of the developers has indicated an interest in completing their own feasibility studies. However, the developer rather than the tribe would own any information learned from those studies. The Makah Tribal Council believes that conducting its own comprehensive feasibility study will better position the Makah community for a more informative development plan that best serves the needs of the Makah rather than those of an outside developer. There is an ongoing plan for harvesting energy from ocean waves. We hope to be able to present a firm energy source to eventual buyers between the three renewable sources.

By completing this study, the Makah will determine if it is in the tribe's best interest to integrate a new energy system into our community. The tribe is approaching this study with a strong sustainability component. And it is understood that a sustainable business model will encourage long-term community growth and vitality. Each of the three sustainability principles — economic, environmental, and social — matches the tribe's core community goals and values. If the study points toward development, the tribe has several options for financing and implementation. Each will be investigated thoroughly.


The first part of the study will assess local renewable resources and local energy needs. It will also evaluate the potential for: energy exports through power purchase agreements, job creation, economic and environmental benefits, and long-term sustainability of the project. In addition, the study will address how renewable energy development will integrate with the cultural, social, and long-term goals of the tribe.

The last part of the study will include plans to obtain the necessary financing, power purchase agreements, transmission or interconnection agreements, and a Tribal Council Resolution. Finally, the tribe will construct a comprehensive business plan detailing how best to obtain financing for the implementation of a sustainable renewable energy project. The plan will align the tribe's social, cultural, and community needs and goals with an optimal project solution.

Project Location

The Makah Indian Reservation is located on the northwestern tip of the Olympic Peninsula in Clallam County, Washington. The total land area of 47 square miles is bounded on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north by the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Rocky headlands and sandy beaches typify the shoreline of the reservation. There is one large harbor protected by a breakwater at Neah Bay proper, the central village of the reservation. Mainly rugged mountains dominate the reservation acreage, with elevations typically between 500 and 1,000 feet and reaching nearly 2,000 feet at Sooes Peak. The reservation is extremely isolated from other communities within Clallam County, the Olympic Peninsula, and Washington State in general. Clallam County's major commercial center and county seat, Port Angeles, is 75 miles from Neah Bay. Seattle is 150 miles away, and Forks, the closest town, is 60 miles away.

Project Status

This project is complete. For more, see the final report (PDF 2.7 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 additional information, see the project presentations from October 2002 (PDF 248 KB), November 2003 (PDF 287 KB), and October 2004 (PDF 367 KB). Download Adobe Reader.

For other information, contact one of the project contacts.

Project Contact

Leonard Denney
Makah Tribal Council
Makah Tribe
P.O. Box 115
Neah Bay, WA 98357
Telephone: (360) 645-3281
Fax: (360) 645-2033

Robert Lynette
Springtime Company, LLC
212 Jamestown Beach Lane
Sequim, WA 98382
Telephone: (360) 681-3289
Fax: (360) 681-3290