Makah Indian Tribe - 2003 Project

Project Overview
Tribe/Awardee: Makah Indian Tribe
Location: Neah Bay, WA
Project Title: Next Steps to Implement a 30 MW Wind Power Pilot Project on the Makah Indian Nation for the Pacific Northwest Region
Type of Application: Feasibility
DOE Grant Number: DE-FC36-03GO13124
Project Amounts:
DOE: $289,092
Awardee: $0
Total: $289,092
Project Status: Complete  More
Project Period
of Performance:
Start: September 2003
End: December 2005

Summary

The Makah Nation, located on the northwestern tip of the Olympic Peninsula, has determined that the most expedient way to ensure the success of developing a commercial wind project on native lands, while simultaneously maintaining an economically and politically advantageous position for the tribe, is by setting up the Makah Utility Authority as a vehicle for finance, business, and development. In this project, the Makah will complete the predevelopment tasks for the planned Makah 30-MW wind project and associated infrastructure.

Project Description

The Makah Nation has determined that the most expedient way to ensure the success of developing a commercial wind project on Native Lands, whilst simultaneously maintaining an economically and politically advantageous position for the Tribe, is by setting up the Makah Utility Authority as a vehicle for finance, business and development. In this project, the Makah will complete the pre-development tasks required to "make ready" the Makah 30 MW wind project and will simultaneously establish the required infrastructure to ensure project viability.

The goal of this project is to move to the next level of development by securing long-term contracts for energy generated by winds on the Makah Indian Reservation and to position the Makah, at the end of this work, to begin construction of a 30 MW wind plant with its development partner Cielo Wind Power.

Work done to date will be integrated into the approach as a base line starting point, and used to develop power output profiles and economic models. The results of completed environmental review tasks and transmission studies will be combined with the project economic work to develop marketing information and to secure power purchase agreements. For information on the preceding feasibility study, see Makah Indian Tribe under FY2002 projects.

Objective

The project will accomplish three objectives:

  1. Creation of a tribal utility organization capable of materially participating in a commercial utility venture on Makah lands.

  2. Accomplish marketing, transmission, data analysis, environmental review and other required tasks to finalize the wind energy project feasibility work.

  3. Position the Makah Utility Authority and its business partners to begin construction of the first commercial wind plant on Native American tribal lands.

Scope

The Makah Nation's objectives will be accomplished through the following project approach:

  1. Set-up Makah Utility Authority
    1. Create a functional Tribally owned and operated electric utility capable of power purchase and distribution including all necessary elements required to obtain status and financing through the Rural Utility Services.

    2. Create a business structure that is sustainable and based on accurate cost of service and essential principles of integrated resource planning and sound business practice.

    3. Exercise sovereignty over appropriate civil affairs in order to achieve a significant degree of self-governance with regard to energy matters.

  2. Take next-steps to accomplish and finalize wind data analysis, transmission integration and environmental review.
    1. Data analysis - Data collected from meteorological towers obtained under the 2002 DOE grant will continue to be assimilated and correlated with historical data to generate commercial output profiles and to model project economics. This work will be done in conjunction with Cielo to further evaluate the viability of a 30 MW project.

    2. Transmission studies and project integration negotiations.

    3. Environmental review -
      1. Develop Permitting Profile: The environmental review work done under the stage-1 feasibility will be integrated with viewshed and noise threshold work to create an environmental permitting profile document, which includes identification of sensitivities and mitigation strategies.

      2. Avian Issues: Avian studies will be conducted at a level approved by BPA, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Applicant team has extensive experience in working with federal and state wildlife agencies on avian studies in the Pacific Northwest and will work with the tribe's present contractor to complete the review.

      3. Threatened, Endangered or State-Sensitive Species: Information will be secured regarding federally listed threatened or endangered (T&E) species or state-listed sensitive species at or near the project site. The Makah Nation will provide this information to BPA, Clallam County PUD and Cielo when it is secured.

      4. Viewshed Analysis: to be completed with respect to various siting options.

      5. Baseline Noise Issues: Turbine placements will be evaluated with respect to the noise profile and proximity to inhabited structures. Cielo will assist in the analysis of these factors with respect to three or more commercially available candidate turbines.

  3. Material participation in project feasibility tasks leading to an executable wind project at the end of the study.

    1. Apply for financing - The tribal utility will research and apply for project financing as an Indian Owned entity.

    2. Marketing of Native Power - Market development activities with the local PUD and regional utilities, power marketers and Federal Power marketing agencies.

    3. Site development work.

    4. Environmental mitigation work - Activities will be conducted by the project team, tribal workers and contractors to mitigate and resolve environmental sensitivities identified under the environmental review task described above.

  4. Position the Makah Utility Authority and it's business partners to begin construction of the first commercial wind plant on Native American tribal lands
    1. Following completion of the work under the requested funding, the Makah, Cielo and the Utility partners would be in a position to execute a power purchase agreement, and to proceed with developing a commercial wind project.

Background

The Makah Nation's goal to install 30 MW of wind power in the near term calls for the development of a tribal utility organization capable of undertaking joint ventures and materially participating in projects on tribal lands. The proposed project will initiate and develop the required infrastructure of a tribally owned and operated utility company as the vehicle for the strategic and sustainable development of the Makah wind plant.

In commitment to this goal, the Makah have entered into a joint development agreement with Cielo Wind Power of Austin, TX, and further, have installed two 50-meter meteorological towers to collect wind data under the 2002 DOE tribal renewable energy grant. Under the joint development agreement, Cielo has the right of first refusal to develop commercial projects on the reservation. In the joint venture partnership, Tribal land will be contributed for fair value as a part of the Makah Nation's investment in the project. The Makah wind farm will be sited on tribal land to the south of the town of Neah Bay, WA.

The project work will augment the Makah Nations' existing role in the joint development agreement between the Makah and Cielo Wind Power. The Makah will contribute the work under this proposal and eventually contribute a meaningful portion of the financing. Through this arrangement, the Makah will maintain a real and significant role in the development of the wind energy project on the reservation and consequently, share in a real and significant portion of the project profits.

Project Location

The Town of Neah Bay, WA has a population of about 3,000, and is the Tribal headquarters of the Makah Nation. This site is equipped with two 50-meter meteorological towers with anemometers at 10, 40 and 50-meter levels and a wind vane at 50 meters. Average annual winds at this site are expected to be 19-20 mph with capacity factors of better than 35%.

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 3.2 MB). Download Adobe Reader.

The project was competitively selected under the Tribal Energy Program's FY2003 solicitation, "Renewable Energy Development on Tribal Lands" and started September 2003. For information on the preceding feasibility study, see Makah Indian Tribe under FY2002 projects. The November 2003 (PDF 2.5 MB) and October 2004 (PDF 847 KB) presentations provide more information. Download Adobe Reader.

For additional information, contact one of the project contacts.

Project Contact

Leonard "Bud" Denney
Makah Tribal Planner
Makah Tribe
P.O. Box 115
Neah Bay, WA 98357
Telephone: (360) 645-3281
Fax: (360) 645-2033
Email: mtcbud@centurytel.net

Martin Wilde
Technical Consultant
4490 Trumble Creek Road
Columbia Falls, MT 59912
Telephone: (406) 892-0211
Fax: (406) 892-0211
Email: mwilde@cielowind.com

James Yockey
Technical Consultant
1605 Monroe Street, Suite 110
Madison, WI 53711-2052
Telephone: (608) 258-9522
Email: yockey@itis.com