Lummi Indian Business Council
Wind Energy Development Feasibility Assessment
Type of Application
DOE Grant Number
Project Period of Performance
Start: March 2010
End: February 2012
The overall goal of the Lummi Indian Reservation Wind Energy Development Feasibility Assessment project is to conduct an assessment that will provide the information needed for the Lummi Indian Business Council (LIBC) to make a knowledge-based determination whether a wind-generation project on the reservation would provide enough economic, environmental, cultural, and social benefits to justify the cost of the development.
This feasibility project will answer the questions of whether there is enough wind to make the development of wind power generation viable, what the likely wildlife impacts are of installing one or more wind turbines, and what noise impact will there be for one or more turbines.
The Lummi Nation is a federally recognized tribe of Indians; the Lummi Indian Business Council (LIBC) is the governing body of the Lummi Nation. The LIBC is administratively organized into a number of departments, including the Natural Resources Department, the Planning Department, and the Lummi Commercial Company. The mission of the Lummi Natural Resources Department is to enhance, manage, and protect the Lummi Nation's natural resources into perpetuity for the benefit of the Lummi people in accordance with the policy and procedures of the Lummi Nation.
Although not formally stated in the form of a Lummi Nation Energy Plan, tribal energy self-sufficiency has been a goal of the Lummi Nation since at least 1993. Regional energy demand is expected to grow steadily until at least 2020, and regional generation output is needed to keep up with this demand. Considering global climate change and the long-recognized need to shift energy generation capacity from hydrocarbon-based to renewable sources, a feasibility study of wind energy development on the reservation is a critical step in planning for the future.
The overall goal of the Lummi Indian Reservation Wind Energy Development Feasibility Assessment Project is to determine whether and at what cost wind energy development on the reservation can help achieve the tribal goal of energy self-sufficiency. Following are the primary questions that will be addressed in this renewable energy assessment project:
- Is there enough wind on the reservation to justify further pursuit of developing wind-generation capabilities on the reservation?
- What are likely wildlife impacts associated with installing one or more wind turbines on the reservation, and what are practicable mitigation measures if there are unavoidable impacts?
- What are the likely noise impacts associated with installing one or more wind turbines on the reservation, and what are practicable mitigation measures if there are unavoidable impacts?
Other specific impacts (e.g., cultural and archeological, transportation, storm water, wetlands, floodplain, and geotechnical) of a wind-generation development project will need to be formally addressed as part of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and tribal permitting process.
The Lummi Indian Reservation Wind Energy Development Feasibility Assessment Project will include installing two 60-meter met towers, deploying rented SODAR units that will measure wind at two additional sites, completing an assessment of the impacts of one or more wind turbines on reservation wildlife, completing an assessment of the noise impacts of one or more wind turbines, and completing a final report that includes a wind map for the reservation; an economic analysis including the estimated capital cost, maintenance costs, and a pro-forma analysis of a 20-year lifecycle; an analysis of a single turbine at each site; and a wind farm layout.
The Lummi Nation primarily resides on and around the Lummi Indian Reservation. The reservation is located approximately 8 miles west of Bellingham, 90 miles north of Seattle, and 60 miles south of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Lummi Indian Reservation is located along the western boundary of Whatcom County, Washington, and includes portions of the watersheds for Georgia Strait, Lummi Bay, Hale Passage, Bellingham Bay, and the Nooksack and Lummi rivers. The Nooksack River drains a watershed of 786 square miles, flows through the reservation near the mouth of the river, and discharges to Bellingham Bay (and partially to Lummi Bay during high flows).
The project is complete. For details, see the final report.
The project was competitively selected under the Tribal Energy Program's fiscal year 2009 funding opportunity announcement, "Assessing the Feasibility of Renewable Energy Development and Energy Efficiency Deployment on Tribal Lands," and started in March 2010. The November 2009, October 2010, and November 2011 project status reports provide more information.