Renewable Energy Feasibility Study Leading to Development of the Native Spirit Solar Energy Facility Page: 4 of 24
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The Morongo Band of Mission Indians ("Morongo"), a federally recognized Indian Tribe
organized under the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934, is one of several members of the
Southwest Tribal Energy Consortium ("SWTEC"). Initial members of SWTEC include the
Morongo Band of Mission Indians, the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, the Fort
Mojave Indian Tribe, and the Pauma Band of Mission Indians. The San Manuel Band of
Mission Indians joined SWTEC during 2007.
This group of Tribes, initially convened by the Council of Energy Resource Tribes ("CERT"),
has been working together for the last several years to explore potential collaborative Tribal
energy development opportunities. The multi-Tribe energy organization investigation
leveraged work completed in June 2002 by the Southern California Tribal Chairmen's
The Tribes comprising SWTEC reside in the Southwest and Southern California. These areas
are rich with both renewable and conventional fuel supplies, with access to both viable
power markets and delivery infrastructure. The Tribes sought to determine the feasibility of
developing renewable power generation projects that could leverage available resources,
optimum siting locations, and access to delivery infrastructure, thus forming the basis for a
successful multi-Tribal project. The Tribes' primary interest was in large-scale projects that
could potentially support power export beyond or between the Reservation(s) involved.
Each Tribe has well-established gaming operations, strong leadership, an understanding of the
key connections between energy matters and economic and community development, and
interest in energy self-sufficiency.
In early January 2005, the SWTEC group had completed a high-level concept definition study
to identify potentially viable projects within the Reservation lands of the participating Tribes.
While high-level in nature, this study indicated the viability of a number of renewable and
conventional generation projects on lands belonging to SWTEC members. This study
considered factors including: resource supply, generation technology alternatives, water
needs, transmission access and interconnection, potential power markets, financing
alternatives, leveraging incentives, and other parameters. The initial projects identified
included both wind and natural gas resources.
In early 2006, SWTEC began this DOE-funded renewable energy feasibility study. During the
course of the study, SWTEC members considered multiple options for the organization
structure, selected a proposed organization structure, and drafted a Memorandum of
Understanding for the SWTEC organization. High-level resource assessments for SWTEC
members were completed; surveys were developed and completed to determine each
member's interest in multiple participation options, including on-reservation projects. With
the survey inputs in mind, multiple energy project options were identified and evaluated on a
high-level basis. That process led to a narrowing of the field of technology options to solar
generation, specifically, utility-scale Concentrating Solar-Powered Generation projects, with a
specific, tentative project location at the Fort Mojave Indian Reservation.
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Stewart, Carolyn & LeBeau, Tracey. Renewable Energy Feasibility Study Leading to Development of the Native Spirit Solar Energy Facility, report, January 31, 2008; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc897105/m1/4/: accessed October 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.