Lower Brule Sioux Tribe - 2003 Project

Project Overview
Tribe/Awardee: Lower Brule Sioux Tribe
Location: Lower Brule, SD
Project Title: A Study of the Feasibility of Using Pump-Back Storage Hydroelectric Power on Lower Brule Sioux Tribal Lands to Firm Up and Increase the Value of Wind-Generated Electricity to be Exported on the Regional Grid
Type of Application: Feasibility
DOE Grant Number: DE-FC36-03GO13024
Project Amounts:
DOE: $186,555
Awardee: $0
Total: $186,555
Project Status: Complete  More
Project Period
of Performance:
Start: July 2003
End: December 2004

Summary

The Lower Brule Sioux tribal reservation comprises 230,000 acres along the west bank of Lake Francis Case and Lake Sharpe, which were created by the Fort Randall and Big Bend dams of the Missouri. The tribe will assess the feasibility of using pumped-storage hydroelectric power to increase the value of wind-generated electricity. The proposed project would use a pump-back storage reservoir and hydroelectric turbines to supply power when the wind slows or stops.

Project Description

The concept to be tested for feasibility is the use of hydroelectric power (as a backup source) to firm up and increase the value of wind-generated electricity, for export on the regional WAPA grid. The proposed project would use a pump-back water storage reservoir and hydroelectric turbines to supply power during any part of a contracted period during which the wind slows or stops. The proposed installation will be located next to the existing electrical transmission infrastructure (substation) at Big Bend Dam, on trust land owned by the tribe.

Background

The Lower Brule Sioux Tribe is a federally recognized Indian tribe organized pursuant to the 1934 Wheeler-Howard Act ("Indian Reorganization Act"). It is governed by a tribal council elected at-large and comprised of five council members and a tribal chairman. The chairman also acts as the chief executive officer of the tribe. The Lower Brule Sioux Tribe has a membership of approximately 2,600, with approximately 1,200 members residing on the tribe's 230,000-acre reservation. Only reservation residents enjoy an active voice in the political decisions of the tribe.

The Lower Brule Sioux tribal reservation lies along the west bank of Lake Francis Case and Lake Sharpe, which were created by the Fort Randall and Big Bend dams of the Missouri River pursuant to the Pick-Sloan Act. The regional electric grid, which is operated by the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA), is less than one mile from the proposed tribal wind farm. Hydroelectric power is produced at the Big Bend Dam facility, which is operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Data collected at the Big Bend site clearly demonstrate the existence of wind resources sufficient to deliver electrical power in marketable quantities. In 2001, with funding from the Administration for Native Americans, the tribe erected and monitored two anemometers on the reservation. The results will be the basis for wind portion of the proposed feasibility study.

Objective

Wind/Hydroelectric Concept Description

The concept to be tested for feasibility is the use of hydroelectric power (as a backup source) to firm up and increase the value of wind-generated electricity, for export on the regional WAPA grid. Since electric power is marketed in levelized blocks, with the shortest block being an hour, market value may be maximized when a producer can deliver a scheduled amount for the entire contract period. The proposed project would use a pump-back water storage reservoir and hydroelectric turbines to supply power during any part of a contracted period during which the wind slows or stops. The proposed installation will be located next to the existing electrical transmission infrastructure (substation) at Big Bend Dam, on trust land owned by the tribe.

The proposed system would have low-head, or stream flow, hydroelectric turbines placed in the tailrace below the dam, turned by the water released from the dam. These low-head turbines would power pumping of water to the storage reservoir. The tribe will study whether low-head turbines in the tailrace would produce enough energy to pump water to a reservoir to be constructed above the river. The tribe will perform a study on whether such a reservoir would have sufficient head to create on-demand hydroelectric power to firm up wind power, increasing its value and marketability. The tribe will then investigate whether this levelized or firmed-up power has increased value in the power markets. The tribe will investigate optimal power marketing arrangements, either under contract with the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA), or another power marketing contract.

Scope

Request for Proposals from Engineering Firms

The tribe will develop and issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) to engineering consulting firms capable of carrying out the following scope of work.

Preliminary Feasibility Tests

The tribe will examine and report on each of the following preliminary feasibility tests.

  1. Availability of wind power at the site for commercial development of a wind farm.

  2. Tribal rights to divert and use the water that would be stored in the pump-back reservoir.

  3. Feasibility of constructing a reservoir above Big Bend dam.

  4. Placing low-head turbines in the tail race of the dam.

  5. Feasibility of technologies to integrate the four systems (wind, low-head turbines, pumps, and discharge turbines from the reservoir).

  6. Potential increased value and marketability of power produced through the combination of wind and firming hydroelectric power.

  7. Accessing the grid with resulting power.

  8. Utilizing off-peak wind power to pump water to the proposed reservoir.

Further Tasks

The Tribe will also perform the following tasks:

  • Wind Technology Evaluation

    The tribe will evaluate existing wind turbine technologies as they relate to site specifics of the hillside where anemometer data has been tracked by the tribe. Economic factors relating to costs versus market and probable income will be based on potential wind farm productivity.

  • Economic Feasibility Assessment

    The Tribe will determine the projected costs and revenues of the proposed installation.

  • Assess Political Feasibility

    The Tribe will measure and report on tribe members' perceptions of cultural compatibility, the impact of the proposed installation on the environment, the scenic viewscape, and mitigation of potential adverse impacts.

  • Assessment of Environmental Benefits and Impacts, and Permitting

    The tribe will conduct an environmental and archeological assessment of the site where the wind farm and reservoir are to be located.

  • Assessment of Potential Corporate Structure

    The tribe will research and report on forms of tribal ownership that best serves tribal interests.

  • Development of Business and Financing Plan

    The Tribe will develop a business plan for the production, marketing and export of electrical power, including power purchase agreements; study the potential financing options for the power plant; and, develop a prospectus to secure investment partners for the installation.

  • Plan for Operations, Maintenance and Training

    The tribe will develop O&M and training plans for the power plant.

  • Infrastructure Development Planning

    The tribe will determine and report on infrastructure needed to complete the project.

Project Location

The Lower Brule Sioux tribal reservation lies along the west bank of Lake Francis Case and Lake Sharpe, which were created by the Fort Randall and Big Bend dams of the Missouri River pursuant to the Pick-Sloan Act.

Project Status

This project is complete. For details, see the final report (PDF 2.4 MB). Download Adobe Reader.

The project was competitively selected under the Tribal Energy Program's FY2002 solicitation, "Renewable Energy Development on Tribal Lands," and started July 2003. The November 2003 project status report (PDF 940 KB) provides more information. Download Adobe Reader.

For additional information, contact the project contact.

Project Contact

Shawn LaRoche
The Lower Brule Sioux Tribe
187 Oyate Circle
Lower Brule, SD 57548
Phone: (605) 473-8040
Email: shawnlaroche777@hotmail.com