Comprehensive Renewable Energy Feasibility Study for the Makah Indian Tribe

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The purpose of this project was to determine the technical feasibility, economic viability, and potential impacts of installing and operating a wind power station and/or small hydroelectric generation plants on the Makah reservation. The long-term objective is to supply all or a portion of Tribe's electricity from local, renewable energy sources in order to reduce costs, provide local employment, and reduce power outages. An additional objective was for the Tribe to gain an understanding of the requirements, costs, and benefits of developing and operating such plants on the reservation. The Makah Indian Reservation, with a total land area of forty-seven ... continued below

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RobertLynette; Wade, John & Coupe, Larry March 31, 2005.

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Description

The purpose of this project was to determine the technical feasibility, economic viability, and potential impacts of installing and operating a wind power station and/or small hydroelectric generation plants on the Makah reservation. The long-term objective is to supply all or a portion of Tribe's electricity from local, renewable energy sources in order to reduce costs, provide local employment, and reduce power outages. An additional objective was for the Tribe to gain an understanding of the requirements, costs, and benefits of developing and operating such plants on the reservation. The Makah Indian Reservation, with a total land area of forty-seven square miles, is located on the northwestern tip of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State. Four major watersheds drain the main Reservation areas and the average rainfall is over one hundred inches per year. The reservation's west side borders the Pacific Ocean, but mostly consists of rugged mountainous terrain between 500 and 1,900 feet in elevation. Approximately 1,200 tribal members live on the Reservation and there is an additional non-Indian residential population of about 300. Electric power is provided by the Clallam County PUD. The annual usage on the reservation is approximately 16,700 mWh. Project Work Wind Energy--Two anemometer suites of equipment were installed on the reservation and operated for a more than a year. An off-site reference station was identified and used to project long-term wind resource characteristics at the two stations. Transmission resources were identified and analyzed. A preliminary financial analysis of a hypothetical wind power station was prepared and used to gauge the economic viability of installation of a multi-megawatt wind power station. Small Hydroelectric--Two potential sites for micro/small-hydro were identified by analysis of previous water resource studies, topographical maps, and conversations with knowledgeable Makah personnel. Field trips were conducted to collect preliminary site data. A report was prepared by Alaska Power & Telephone (Larry Coupe) including preliminary layouts, capacities, potential environmental issues, and projected costs. Findings and Conclusions Wind Energy The average wind resources measured at both sites were marginal, with annual average wind speeds of 13.6-14.0 mph at a 65-meter hub height, and wind shears of 0.08-0.13. Using GE 1.5 MW wind turbines with a hub height of 65 meters, yields a net capacity factor of approximately 0.19. The cost-of-energy for a commercial project is estimated at approximately 9.6 cents per kWh using current costs for capital and equipment prices. Economic viability for a commercial wind power station would require a subsidy of 40-50% of the project capital cost, loans provided at approximately 2% rate of interest, or a combination of grants and loans at substantially below market rates. Recommendations: Because the cost-of-energy from wind power is decreasing, and because there may be small pockets of higher winds on the reservation, our recommendation is to: (1) Leave one of the two anemometer towers, preferably the 50-meter southern unit MCC, in place and continue to collect data from this site. This site would serve as an excellent reference anemometer for the Olympic Peninsula, and, (2) If funds permit, relocate the northern tower (MCB) to a promising small site closer to the transmission line with the hope of finding a more energetic site that is easier to develop. Small Hydroelectric There are a very limited number of sites on the reservation that have potential for economical hydroelectric development, even in conjunction with water supply development. Two sites emerged as the most promising and were evaluated: (1) One utilizing four creeks draining the north side of the Cape Flattery peninsula (Cape Creeks), and (2) One on the Waatch River to the south of Neah Bay. The Cape Creeks site would be a combination water supply and 512 kW power generation facility and would cost a approximately $11,100,000. Annual power generation would be approximately 1,300,000 kWh and the plant would have a cost-of-energy of approximately 65 cents per kWh, substantially above market rates. The Waatch site would also be a combination water supply and power generation facility. It would have a rated capacity of 935 kW and would cost approximately $16,400,000. Annual power generation would be approximately 3,260,000 kWh and the plant would have a cost-of-energy of approximately 38 cents per kWh, also substantially above market rates. Recommendation: Stand-alone hydroelectric development is not commercially viable. The Tribal Council should not pursue development of hydroelectric facilities on the Makah Reservation unless they are an adjunct to a water supply development, and the water supply systems absorbs almost all the capital cost of the project.

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5.2

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  • Report No.: None
  • Grant Number: FC36-02GO12110
  • DOI: 10.2172/850362 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 850362
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc787901

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  • March 31, 2005

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Dec. 3, 2015, 9:30 a.m.

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  • Aug. 30, 2016, 7:48 p.m.

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RobertLynette; Wade, John & Coupe, Larry. Comprehensive Renewable Energy Feasibility Study for the Makah Indian Tribe, report, March 31, 2005; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc787901/: accessed September 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.