Crow Tribe announces partnership with Interior, Reclamation to complete 8-MW Yellowtail Afterbay hydropower project

The U.S. Department of the Interior and the Crow Tribe have announced an agreement to develop an 8 MW hydropower project at the Yellowtail Afterbay Dam on Montana’s Bighorn River.

The agreement is part of the Crow Tribe Water Rights Settlement Act of 2010, which gives the tribe the exclusive right to develop and market power generation produced at the infrastructure.

“This is an excellent opportunity for development of new hydropower capacity on existing infrastructure,” Deputy Secretary of the Interior Michael L. Connor said. “Working through the Bureau of Reclamation, Interior is pleased to assist the Crow Tribe on its Yellowtail Afterbay hydro development, resulting in clean, renewable energy, and creating vital jobs in the process.”

The Crow Tribe will be responsible for the overall management of the project, while Reclamation will provide technical assistance in ensuring the plant coexists with the existing Yellowtail Dam. Yellowtail Dam is a 72-foot-high concrete gravity structure located about two miles upstream from the afterbay dam.

Interior provided a US$655,000 grant last March that allowed the tribe to perform environmental evaluations, permitting, engineering and design work.

The federal agencies said the project’s developers must now complete collecting design data before submitting plans to Reclamation for review.

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Michael Harris formerly was Editor for HydroWorld.com.

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