Mesa Grande Band of Mission Indians - 2004 Project
|Tribe/Awardee:||Mesa Grande Band of Mission Indians|
|Location:||Santa Ysabel, CA|
|Project Title:||Mesa Grande Band of Mission Indians Renewable Energy Feasibility Study|
|Type of Application:||Feasibility|
|DOE Grant Number:||DE-FC36-04GO14026|
|Project Status:||See project status|
The Mesa Grande Band of Mission Indians, located in northern San Diego County, will conduct a study of the feasibility of reducing air pollution generated on the reservation by an over-reliance on wood-burning stoves, kerosene heaters, and gasoline generators, and to identify the types of renewable energy systems that could be used for residential structures and well-pump systems. Additionally, the tribe will develop a strategic implementation plan that completes the economic analysis and guides the selection and financing of renewable energy systems, thereby creating job opportunities on the reservation. The study will focus on photovoltaic (PV) systems, solar hot water, and hydronic space heaters for reservation housing units.
The Mesa Grande Band of Mission Indians will conduct a study of the feasibility of reducing air pollution generated on the reservation by an over-reliance on wood-burning stoves, kerosene heaters, and gasoline generators, and to identify the types of renewable energy systems that could be used for residential structures and well-pump systems. Additionally, the tribe will develop a strategic implementation plan that completes the economic analysis and guides the selection and financing of renewable energy systems, thereby creating further reservation job opportunities. The study will focus on photovoltaic (PV) systems, solar hot water, and hydronic space heaters for reservation housing.
The purpose of the previous phase I feasibility study was to evaluate methods to reduce air pollution generated on the reservation by an over-reliance on wood-burning stoves and to identify the types of renewable energy systems that could be used for residential structures and well pump systems. A preliminary list of recommended distributed renewable energy systems was developed with a comparison of cost savings and environmental benefits that could be gained by the tribe.
The goal of the proposed phase II renewable energy feasibility study is to produce strategic and business plans to guide technical development, obtain project financing, and create jobs. The study will focus on PV systems, solar hot water, and hydronic space heaters for reservation housing units. Several of the older homes are not connected to the San Diego Gas & Electric grid. Residents of these structures rely on wood-burning stoves, kerosene space heaters and gasoline powered generators to meet their energy needs. The rising cost of electricity and natural gas throughout California has also caused low-income residents to resort to burning wood as an alternative to high utility bills. This trend has led in recent years to accelerated deforestation on the reservation, increased household accidents from burns, fires and explosions, and increased risks of health problems related to exposure to wood smoke and fumes from fossil fuel powered systems.
The proposed feasibility study will result in strategic and business plans to guide technical development, obtain project financing, and create jobs by 2005. The scope includes the following steps:
Complete resource assessment (initiated under preliminary study).
Complete tribal load assessment (initiated under preliminary study).
Develop strategic plan for project implementation.
Develop site-specific plan for development phase renewable energy project.
Develop business plan for new renewable energy enterprise.
Develop a plan for a separately funded demonstration project that would complement and benefit the future development-phase project.
Perform cost-benefit economic analysis.
Perform project financing analysis.
Deliver final feasibility study report.
The feasibility study project and development of renewable energy systems on the reservation directly supports three self-sufficiency goals of the tribe, as stated in the housing plan, approved by the governing council on December 31, 1999:
To provide for the development of adequate infrastructure to accommodate the projected community needs.
To develop facilities, programs and services to build healthier holistic communities.
To manage and allocate resources in a manner which generates positive cash flow and provides for a surplus income over expenses.
Most of the low-income residents of the reservation cannot afford the high cost of electricity to heat and cool their homes and to heat water even when their homes are equipped to do so. Many of the Tract II households do not even have an electricity supply to their homes. Since there is no natural gas supply to the reservation, some residents use propane gas but this also is expensive, almost as expensive to use as a heating fuel as electricity. The most affordable way to heat their homes is with wood and kerosene and this is the most common practice. However, dependence on wood burning stoves and fireplaces have led to extensive deforestation of reservation land, as all wood used for heating is derived from tribal land, with concomitant environmental problems such as soil erosion and mudslides. Also, the combustion by-products of wood and kerosene cause health and safety problems and so this does not add to the quality of life on the reservation. Those residents without electricity use gasoline to run their generators. The generators are noisy, high-maintenance, and produce noxious fumes. Again, basic energy needs can be met but at the expense of quality of life.
The Mesa Grande Band is looking for a solution to this situation that will provide everyone on the reservation with a higher quality, more affordable standard of living without further degrading the environment. This study explores the feasibility of installing renewable energy systems to provide clean power throughout the reservation to substantially replace the use of fossil fuels.
The Mesa Grande Band of Mission Indians, a federally recognized tribe with reservation land located in northern San Diego County, The reservation is located on 920 acres near Santa Ysabel, California. The Mesa Grande Reservation is located on four separate tracts of land. Two of the tracts contain all of the current homes and tribal facilities. The other two, one an 800-acre tract and the other a 900-acre tract, are being considered for future development. Of the two housing tracts, the Black Canyon Housing Association is set in a valley and consists of 22 mostly newer construction modern single-family homes, all developed more or less at the same time. The other tract, Tract II, is situated on higher land and consists of 25 older construction homes, including wood-frame single-family homes, mobile homes, manufactured homes and trailers.
The project was competitively selected under the Tribal Energy Program's FY2003 solicitation, "Renewable Energy Development on Tribal Lands," and started April 2004.
For current project status or additional information, contact one of the project contacts.
Darrel Langley, Tribal Environmental Specialist
Mesa Grande Band of Mission Indians
P.O. Box 270
Santa Ysabel, CA 92070
Telephone: (760) 782-3818
Mobile: (760) 271-3318
Colin Jessop, Consultant
Sustainable Earth Enterprises
1268 Devonshire Drive
San Diego, CA 92107
Telephone: (619) 255-1049