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Citizen Potawatomi Nation - 2005 Project

Project Overview
Tribe/Awardee: Citizen Potawatomi Nation
Location: Shawnee, OK
Project Title: Fire Lake Hybrid Geothermal Heat Pump Demonstration Project
Type of Application: Development
DOE Grant Number: DE-FG36-05GO15176
Project Amounts:
DOE: $240,000
Awardee: $236,130
Total: $476,130
Project Status: See project status
Project Period
of Performance:
Start: September 2005
End: August 2007


The economic future of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, located in central Oklahoma, depends on affordable and reliable energy. With funding from the Department of Energy, the Citizen Potawatomi Nation developed a strategic energy plan that identified a large amount of heat being rejected from the operation of air-conditioning compressors and refrigeration compressors in the FireLake Discount Food store. It was determined that 50% of the HVAC operating costs could be saved by installing ground source heat pumps with additional savings in reduced maintenance costs and use of the waste heat. This demonstration project, "FireLake Hybrid Renewable Energy Project," will implement a geothermal heat pump system for two buildings as well as for heating a planned greenhouse.

Project Description

In FY2003, the Citizen Potawatomi Nation Business Committee prioritized energy development through the establishment of long-range goals for economic development to achieve economic opportunities, job creation, and overall self-sufficiency for the tribe. In response to this priority, the tribe submitted an application and was awarded funding by the Department of Energy for a strategic energy planning project to evaluate energy efficiency and renewable energy options, resources, and technologies, and establish a tribal utility department. By Resolution 04-58 the tribe created a utilities development department.

Results of the energy planning grant identified salient potentials for saving energy, recovering energy, and using assets of the tribe to generate revenue and provide jobs. More specifically, upon completion of the energy-planning grant, the energy consulting team recommended the following items for consideration for near-term implementation in the tribal strategic energy plan: (1) heat recovery from the grocery store and casino as a renewable energy source, (2) diversification of electric loads and changing service levels to lower electric costs, (3) ground water development for water-source heat-pump applications, (4) a geothermal heat pump installation/distribution company, and (5) integration or sharing of HVAC loads.

In short, the study found a large source of water under tribal land that can be used as an energy source for ground-source heat-pump (GSHP) systems. These systems have developed a reputation for being the most cost-effective method of heating and cooling spaces. This water source can act as a bank for energy to or from selected building complexes. It was determined that 50% of the HVAC operating costs could be saved by installing GSHPs and additional savings would be realized in maintenance costs. Results from an energy study of major facilities revealed that the FireLake Discount Food (FDF) store had the potential for saving the greatest amount of energy by recovery of waste heat. It was discovered that a large amount of heat was being rejected from the operation of air-conditioning compressors and refrigeration compressors in the FDF store. This waste heat can be turned into an asset, used directly in a greenhouse producing vegetables to be sold in the store.


It is the vision of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation to reduce energy use while providing quality energy services to members and creating revenue-generating energy enterprises. The energy planning team has identified the following energy goals:

  • Develop internal tribal capacity and human resource skills necessary for construction and maintenance of geothermal heat pump applications at tribal facilities.

  • Successfully complete installation of hybrid renewable geothermal heat-pump energy applications.

  • Develop a system to use captured heat from the food-store air-conditioning and refrigeration systems and tribal water resources to operate and control the planned greenhouse.

  • Measure success of the Fire Lake Hybrid Geothermal Heat Pump Demonstration Project by percentage of energy saved, energy cost saved, jobs created, and amount of increased profit at the grocery store resulting from the greenhouse produce.


This demonstration project will implement a geothermal heat pump networking system for two buildings, as well as a planned greenhouse. Specific project objectives include:

  • The energy development team and project consultants will finalize design and specifications for the Fire Lake Hybrid Renewable Energy Project, incorporating waste heat, geothermal heat pump applications, and a commercial greenhouse venture.

  • The necessary project environmental documentation will be completed and approved by the agency.

  • The Citizen Potawatomi Nation Utilities Development Department will hire and train additional personnel to complete the pond/GSHP-systems/greenhouse complex, operate the systems, and gather data with the construction phase being complete after obtaining approval of the environmental assessment.

  • Project construction will begin in six parts: (1) construction of a pond, (2) construction of a heat exchanger and vault header system, (3) development of a GSHP piping network connecting the pond loops to the bingo/casino heat pumps and a network connecting the pond loops to the greenhouse and the heat from the FireLake Discount Food Store, (4) installation of GSHP systems in the Fire Lake bingo/casino building, (5) development of a heat recovery system for a greenhouse that derives its heat from FireLake Discount Food air-conditioning and refrigeration compressors, and (6) construction of a greenhouse to grow vegetables for sale in the grocery store.

  • Greenhouse startup will begin upon conclusion of the greenhouse construction.

  • Process and outcome measures along with close-out documents, including the identification of future energy savings applications and commercial ventures, will be completed and submitted to the Department of Energy.

Project Location

The Citizen Potawatomi Nation, located in central Oklahoma, is the ninth largest tribe in the United States with 11,011 Native Americans in the Tribal Jurisdictional Statistical Area. It is headquartered in Shawnee, OK and is one of seven Potawatomi tribes or "bands." The Citizen Potawatomi Nation is the largest group of descendants and is composed of more than 24,000 tribal members located in various states and five foreign countries.

Project Status

The project was competitively selected under the Tribal Energy Program's FY2004 solicitation, "Renewable Energy Development on Tribal Lands," and started September 2005. The October 2005 (PDF 4.3 MB) and October 2006 (PDF 35.1 MB) presentations provide more information. Download Adobe Reader.

For current project status or additional information, contact one of the project contacts.

Project Contact

Art Muller
Citizen Potawatomi Nation
1601 Gordon Cooper Drive
Shawnee, OK 74801
Telephone: (405) 878-4672
Facsimile: (405) 275-0198