Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation – 2017 Project

Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs

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Project Overview

Tribe/Awardee

Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR)

Location

Pendleton, OR

Project Title

Light-Emitting Diode (LED) Lighting Retrofit and Solar Power Generation for CTUIR

Type of Application

Deployment

DOE Grant Number

DE-EE0000085

Project Amounts

DOE: $133,705

Awardee: $133,706

Total: $267,411

Project Status

See project status

Project Period of Performance

Start: August 2017

End: February 2019

Summary

This project supports the energy independence and resiliency goals of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR) by installing light-emitting diode (LED) lighting and 97 kilowatts (kW) of solar photovoltaics (PV), supplying power for three buildings. LED lighting will account for an estimated annual power savings of 23,635 kilowatt-hours (kWh), or about 16% of the total electricity consumed by the three buildings. The PV array will further decrease the annual power demand by approximately 125,568 kWh. This project is estimated to provide 100% of the annual electric demand for three buildings owned by CTUIR.

Project Description

Background

The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation is a federally recognized Indian tribe with more than 3,000 enrolled tribal members, 1,450 of which live on the Umatilla Indian Reservation (UIR). The Tribe adopted an energy policy in 2009 to provide a long-term vision on the use of energy and the development of energy security and independence. Among the goals articulated in the energy policy are the desire to “Promote the development of clean and renewable energy sources…that build the CTUIR’s energy independence…” and to “Develop strategies to protect the CTUIR and its members from rising cost of energy through conservation…” This work helps to accomplish both goals by installing a clean energy solar PV array and implementing LED lighting as an energy-efficiency measure (EEM).

The energy goals of the CTUIR are succinctly summarized in the CTUIR Comprehensive Plan, where it states the desire of the CTUIR to “…actively pursue the reduction of greenhouse gases to sustainable levels by striving to conserve energy and developing energy independence for the sustainability of the Tribal community and its environment.” The CTUIR Energy Policy further indicates that solar PV is among the most promoted energy technology, as long as development efforts are consistent with natural and cultural resource values. This project meets these criteria.

Project Objectives and Scope

The project benefits the Tribe and its members by annually eliminating the purchase of approximately 149,203 kWh of utility power that has a current value of $14,920. In addition to the energy independence and financial benefits of the project, this work also helps the CTUIR to achieve environmental stewardship goals by reducing the equivalent of approximately 22.8 tons per year of carbon dioxide emissions. Other beneficial outcomes include financial benefits from energy savings and reinvestment opportunities and education for tribal students.

Finally, this effort enables tribal staff to become skilled in installing and maintaining solar PV systems and will assist in completing similar work in the future. The work for this project is divided into the following four tasks for tracking and management:

  • Project Management,
  • LED Lighting Retrofit,
  • Solar PV Array Installation, and
  • System Monitoring and Performance Verification.

Project Location

The CTUIR comprises 172,000 acres that flank the Blue Mountains of northeastern Oregon. The location where the solar PV array will be constructed is directly south of the Field Station Science and Engineering Laboratory. The location for the PV system interconnect will be at the Field Station facility transformer on the northeast corner of the building. The LED lighting retrofit EEMs will be implemented across all three tribal government buildings.

Project Status

The project was competitively selected under the DOE Office of Indian Energy Fiscal Year 2016 funding opportunity announcement “Deployment of Energy Efficiency and Clean Energy on Indian Lands – 2017” (DE-FOA-0001660) and started in August 2017.

The November 2017 and December 2018 project status report provides more information.