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St. Croix Chippewa Indians - 2003 Project

Project Overview
Tribe/Awardee: St. Croix Chippewa Indians
Location: Hertel, WI
Project Title: Feasibility Study for Biomass Electrical Generation on Tribal Lands
Type of Application: Feasibility
DOE Grant Number: DE-FC36-03GO13021
Project Amounts:
DOE: $255,176
Awardee: $0
Total: $255,176
Project Status: Complete  More
Project Period
of Performance:
Start: May 2003
End: December 2004


The St. Croix tribe's interest in sustainable economic development has led them to explore using locally available biofuel for power generation. A biofuel power project will leverage community assets and resources and provide a foundation for future sustainable development. It will also help to meet power demands and reduce dependence on imported nonrenewable energy sources.

Project Description

Because the St. Croix Tribe is interested in sustainable "green" business and economic development that promotes a better balance between environmental protection, jobs, and wealth distribution, the Tribe will study the feasibility of developing a bio fuel power project on tribal lands. Using locally available bio fuel for power generation meets the community, economic, social, and cultural goals of the St. Croix Tribe. And the resulting project could leverage community assets and resources and provide a foundation for future sustainable development.

The proposed project will create needed tribal employment opportunities and revenues while providing a needed product for the reservation and surrounding region. The project will be environmentally sustainable, consistent with Tribal culture and heritage, while helping to meet power demand, and reducing dependency on imported non-renewable energy sources. These benefits will be quantified during the feasibility study and evaluated by comparing to Tribal objectives for economic diversification, job creation, and revenue generation.

The eight separate tribal communities of the St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin located in three northwestern Wisconsin Counties (Barron, Burnett, and Polk). The Tribe controls 4,160 acres of reservation lands, restricted allotted lands, and fee lands. The St. Croix Tribal Council is composed of a five member publicly governing body of the St. Croix Chippewa Nation. They represent and conduct business on behalf of their constituency.


The Tribe's goals include:

  • Creation of on-going tribal revenues from the sale of wholesale power;

  • Increasing the attractiveness of the reservation area for business development; and

  • Creation of 60-75 full-time employment opportunities for tribal members in the development and operations of a bio fuel generating plant and ancillary businesses.


The objectives of this project are as follows:

  • To investigate and determine the amount of timber residue bio fuel resources within a 50-mile radius of the St. Croix Reservation that could be used to generate electrical power.

  • To determine the economic feasibility to obtain (harvest, purchase, process and haul) bio fuel for electrical generation.

  • To determine fuel requirements for a variety of biomass power plant types that could be situated in proximity to the St Croix Reservation;

  • To determine the type of biomass conversion technology to be used, based on extensive research into existing technologies and environmental issues, including, but not limited to: plant costs and ease of permitting;

  • Assess the economic feasibility of biomass electric generation.

Scope and Approach

The feasibility study will examine all aspects of the proposed development, including site requirements, environmental considerations, community relations concerns, power industry regulatory issues, technology options, fuel supply factors and energy market variables. A team of specialists has been assembled to address each of the issues relevant to project viability. Fuel availability, site suitability, technology selection, economic viability, and consistency with tribal objectives and culture will be evaluated. Activities necessary to conduct the project are described below.

  • Assessment of bio fuels — including fuel availability data collection and analysis, fuel cost determination, resource mapping, fuel delivery routes and cost determination, and assessment of environmental impacts.

  • Site selection — including strategic consideration of all criteria, including land, utilities and support services, transportation, labor, environmental issues, and business climate.

  • Technology assessment and selection — including identification and screening of candidate technologies.

  • Assessment of export markets for power — including evaluation of market for wholesale power sales, assessment of transmission and connectivity routes and costs, and close coordination with utilities for transmission access and accreditation of the proposed plant.

  • Assessment of economic viability — including economic modeling and sensitivity assessment.

  • Environmental permitting and impacts assessment — including socioeconomic impacts.

Project Location

The St. Croix Reservation is composed of eight separate tribal communities (created as a resulted of the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934) scattered over three northwestern Wisconsin Counties (Barron, Burnett, and Polk). The communities of Big Round Lake and Big Sand Lake are located in Polk and Burnett counties respectively.

Project Status

This project is complete. For details, see the final report (PDF 1.1 MB). Download Adobe Reader.

The project was competitively selected under the Tribal Energy Program's FY 2002 solicitation, "Renewable Energy Development on Tribal Lands," and started May 2003. For additional information, see the project status reports from November 2003 (PDF 1.2 MB), October 2004 (PDF 2.1 MB), October 2005 (PDF 334 KB), and November 2007 (PDF 1.6 MB). Download Adobe Reader.

For other information, contact one of the project contacts.

Project Contact

Richard Hartmann, Director Planning & Development
St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin
P.O. Box 45287
Hertel, WI 54845
Phone: 715-349-2195, ext. 110

John Turley or Tom Roche
Phone: 281-351-2856
Fax: 281-351-2879