U.S. releases plan to study integrating wind, hydro

Western Area Power Administration seeks comments by Oct. 19 on a draft work plan for a feasibility study of integrating wind energy generated by Indian tribes and hydropower generated by Corps of Engineers dams on the Missouri River.

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 requires the Energy Department and Corps to study the cost and feasibility of developing a demonstration project that uses wind energy from the tribes and hydropower from the Corps to supply firming power. The plan can be obtained from the Internet at www.wapa.gov/ugp/power_marketing/windhydro/default.htm.

To determine economic and engineering feasibility, investigators are to compare the costs and benefits of blended wind energy and hydropower to costs of current sources of firming power to WAPA. The study also is to: review historical and projected requirements for availability and use of firming power; assess the wind energy potential on tribal land and projected cost savings through a blend of wind and hydropower over 30 years; and determine seasonal capacity needs, transmission upgrades, and costs for integration of tribal wind generation.

Written comments on the proposed scope of work are due Oct. 19 to Robert Harris, Regional Manager, Upper Great Plains Region, Western Area Power Administration, 2900 Fourth Ave. North, Billings, MT 59101-1266; E-mail: ugpwindhydrofs@wapa.gov. For information, contact Michael Radecki, Energy Services Specialist, Upper Great Plains Region, Western Area Power Administration, at the address above; (1) 406-247-7442; E-mail: radecki@wapa.gov.

U.S. selects tribe’s request for wind-hydro study grant

In other action, the Department of Energy has advanced renewable energy grant requests from 15 Indian tribes and Alaskan villages, including a wind-hydro feasibility study proposal and an assessment of one tribe’s resources that could include micro-hydropower.

DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy announced Sept. 14 it selected the proposals for negotiation of awards that could total $2 million to advance renewable energy technologies on tribal and village lands.

Six of the applications propose renewable energy feasibility studies. One, by the 5,000-member Yurok Tribe of northwest California, would assess the feasibility of combining wind and hydroelectric technologies. The tribe has a special interest in hydropower because the Klamath River runs through its reservation. In addition to receiving up to $150,000 in DOE funds, the tribe would be responsible for contributing $18,700 to the study.

Nine of the applications propose initial steps to implement renewable energy and energy efficiency projects on tribal or village lands. Of those, DOE said it would negotiate an award that could total nearly $98,000 to the Karuk Tribe, also of California. The tribe plans to assess solar, micro-hydro, biomass, and wind energy resources within tribal territory. The Karuk Tribe would be responsible for a cost share amount of about $2,000.

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