White Mountain Apache Tribe - 2002 Project

Project Overview
Tribe/Awardee: White Mountain Apache Tribe
Location: Whiteriver, AZ
Project Title: Feasibility Study for Cogeneration Operation
Type of Application: Feasibility
DOE Grant Number: DE-FC36-02GO12109
Project Amounts:
DOE: $53,910
Awardee: $0
Total: $53,910
Project Status: Complete  More
Project Period
of Performance:
Start: August 2002
End: October 2003

Summary

The project will involve an examination of the feasibility of a cogeneration facility at the Fort Apache Timber Company (FATCO), an enterprise of the White Mountain Apache Tribe. FATCO includes a sawmill and a remanufacturing operation that process timber harvested on the tribe's reservation. The operation's main facility is located in the reservation's largest town, Whiteriver. In addition, the tribe operates an ancillary facility in the town of Cibeque on the reservation's west side.

Project Description

Objective

The objective of the project is to assess the economic viability of operating a cogeneration facility at FATCO's Whiteriver location. It is anticipated that the facility would primarily utilize fuels from on-reservation logging, FATCO mill waste, and Tribal Forestry/BIA forest thinning operations. The tribe is interested in the project because of FATCO's need for a reliable source of electric power that is also priced affordably as well as its need to dispose of large quantities of wood waste. The predominant technical issues to be addressed by the project include fuel considerations, electric load and pricing concerns, and facility design, construction, and operation costs. Project financing options will also be evaluated.

Scope

The project will be analyzed for its capacity to provide power for use by FATCO and other entities as designated by the tribe, power for sale by the tribe at a profit, its potential to facilitate improvements in forest management, and its potential to provide a source of employment for tribal members. The project will reevaluate earlier conclusions that cogeneration at FATCO is infeasible using current inputs such as revised fuel totals, power prices, and programmatic and other offsets.

The NEOS Corporation completed a feasibility assessment for a cogeneration facility at FATCO in 1998, deeming it infeasible. In the four years since that date, the energy market has changed, as have other inputs utilized in that evaluation. For example, power pricing has fluctuated wildly in the last two years; also, the commercial value of FATCO's sawmill by-products has also fluctuated since 1998.

In addition, certain factors weren't considered by NEOS that are relevant to project feasibility and will be evaluated in this assessment. For example, fuel from forest thinning operations was not considered in the NEOS resource assessment; FATCO's operational costs to accommodate electric service interruptions were also not considered.

During the project, the White Mountain Apache will:

  • Review the NEOS report

  • Complete an assessment of the FATCO Whiteriver facility and site and visit the Cibecue site for waste estimation

  • Review electric usage data for FATCO and other reservation enterprises

  • Review electricity pricing and reports prepared relating to the same for FATCO

  • Review legal aspects of FATCO's current electric service arrangements and the serving utility's existing transmission and distribution agreements

  • Assess the available quantity of fuel for the facility including applicable costs

  • Assess the characteristics of the fuel available for the facility

  • Identify the appropriate scale and design of the facility based on fuel inputs, power generation parameters, and other appropriate factors

  • Examine the potential environmental impacts of the facility and associated legal issues, if constructed

  • Identify the potential impacts (benefits or detriments) to other tribal programs if the facility was to be constructed and provide dollar estimates of these impacts when possible

  • Estimate construction, annual facility operating, and maintenance costs and the pricing parameters for power sales to support successful project financing

  • Estimate the impact of the project, if constructed, on tribal unemployment

  • Compare the costs and performance of the proposed facility with installation of conventional backup generation

  • Identify potential funding mechanisms available for the project

  • Identify the levels of private and tribal investment required to finance the project

  • Summarize the project findings in a final report presented to the Tribal Council.

Project Location

The Fort Apache Indian Reservation, the homeland of the White Mountain Apache Tribe, is located in east-central Arizona approximately 240 miles northeast of Phoenix and 180 miles northeast of Tucson. The reservation comprises approximately 1.66 million acres, much of which is forested. Reservation elevations range from mid-desert to alpine and include some of the most inspiring scenery in Arizona.

Project Status

This project is complete. For more, see the final report (PDF 947 KB). Download Adobe Reader.

The project was competitively selected under the Tribal Energy Program's FY2002 solicitation, "Renewable Energy Development on Tribal Lands," and started in August 2002. For additional information, see the November 2003 presentation (PDF 132 KB). Download Adobe Reader.

For other information, contact one of the project contacts.

Project Contact

John Bereman
White Mountain Apache Tribe
P.O. Box 1000
Whiteriver, AZ 85941
Telephone: (928) 338-4346 ext 257

Amy Mignella
Special Counsel
P.O. Box 64792
Tucson, AZ 85728-4792
Telephone: (520) 319-2459
Fax: (520) 319-1275
Email: amytm9@cox.net