James Jensen: Welcome to everyone. I am James Jensen, today's webinar chair. I am a contractor supporting the Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs Tribal Energy webinar series. Today's webinar, titled "Initial Scoping of Energy Projects on the Back of an Envelope" is the second webinar of the 2019 DOE Tribal Energy webinar series. Let's go over some event details.
Today's webinar is being recorded and will be made available on DOE's Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs website, along with copies of today's PowerPoint presentations, in about one week. And actually, there's a late-breaking change on that. We're gonna actually have copies of the PowerPoint presentations posted on the website, shortly. We'll send out a note to the audience once they're posted, and you can access them during today's webinar. But the recording won't show up until later, in about a week. Everyone will receive a post-webinar e-mail, with a link to the page where the recording will be located.
Because we are recording this webinar, all phones have been muted. We will answer your written questions at the end of the final presentation. You can submit a question at any time, by clicking on the question button located in the webinar control box on your screen and typing your question.
Let's get started with some opening remarks from Lizana Pierce. Miss Pierce is a senior engineer and deployment supervisor in the office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs _____ stationed in Golden, Colorado. Lizana is responsible for managing technical assistance and education and outreach activities on behalf of the office, implementing national funding opportunities, and administering the resultant Tribal Energy project grants and agreements. She has 25 years of experience in project development and management, and has been assisting tribes in developing their energy resources for nearly 20 years. She holds a bachelor's of science degree in mechanical engineering from Colorado State University, and pursued a master's in business administration through the University of Northern Colorado. Lizana, the virtual floor is now yours.
Lizana Pierce: Thank you, James. And welcome, everyone. I join James in welcoming you to the second webinar of the 2019 series. This webinar series is sponsored by the Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs, also referred to as the Office of Indian Energy, for short. The Office of Indian Energy directs, fosters, coordinates, and implements energy planning, education, management, and programs that assist tribes with energy development, capacity building, energy infrastructure, energy costs, and electrification of Indian lands and homes. To provide this assistance, our deployment program works within the Department of Energy, across government agencies, and with Indian tribes and organizations, to help Indian tribes and Alaska Native villages overcome the barriers to energy development.
Our deployment program is composed of a three-prong approach consisting of financial assistance, technical assistance, and education and capacity building. This webinar series is just one example of our education and capacity building efforts. The webinar series is also part of the Office of Indian Energy's efforts to support fiscally responsible energy business and economic development decision-making and information-sharing among tribes. It is intended to provide attendees with information on tools and resources, to develop and implement energy plans, programs, projects, to highlight tribal energy case studies, and identify business strategies tribes can use to expand their energy options and develop sustainable local economies. For today's webinar, we want to provide tribes with a framework for evaluating their energy options. Without a systematic approach to evaluating options for energy development, it is easy to get off-track.
The energy options framework is intended to help tribes and tribal organizations focus on achieving their energy goals in a deliberate and efficient manner. In addition to provide a framework, we also want to provide information that can give greater insight into what various energy options will require. This type of information is intended to help attendees make more informed decisions, while evaluating what energy options are best for them. We do hope this webinar and the webinar series is useful to you, so we welcome your feedback. So please let us know if there's any way we can make the series better.
And with that, I'll turn the virtual floor back over to James.
James Jensen: Thank you, Lizana.
On today's agenda, we have three presentations. I will introduce he presenters now.
Our first presenter will actually be Lizana Pierce, who I have already introduced.
And following Lizana, we will hear from Doug Gagne. Doug is a project analyst at the Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory. He joined NREL after graduating from the University of Denver, with a master of business administration. Doug has evaluated the transaction structures, evaluation, and technical characteristics of projects spanning most conventional renewable energy technologies, and brings a robust understanding of solar photovoltaic costs and financing mechanisms. He also performs technoeconomic analyses to identify what mix of generation technologies will most cost-effectively meet a site's power needs. Finally, he has examined early-stage project development considerations for renewable energy and resilience projects.
Following Doug, our final presenter will be Roger Knight. Roger is the petroleum engineer on the Department of Interior Division of Energy and Mineral Development staff, with more than 45 years of energy development experience throughout the United States and internationally. During the last 14 years with DEMD, Roger has been involved with petroleum resources, all types of renewable energy, economic evaluation and project development, while working with tribes.
So, with that, we can get started with Lizana's presentation. Lizana, the floor is yours as soon as your slides come up.
Lizana Pierce: Thank you, James. And thank you, everyone, again, for joining us.
I'm gonna provide, as we said, _____ sort of the framework for looking at your options. And then, the back of the napkin approach will sort of fit into that, when you're screening or doing pre-feasibility assessment of those options. So let's get started.
Next slide, please?
So, what is an energy options analysis? The Department of Energy's Office of Indian Energy has defined it as a systematic assessment and evaluation of possible alternative approaches available for achieving specific energy objects. And determining which of those options are the most effective and provide the best solution to achieve those objectives. Such an analysis is intended to explore all feasible technology alternatives, conventional, renewable, and energy efficiency, and to provide evidence that the proposed project choice can actually be implemented, and is the best option available among all those feasible alternatives. And so, an energy options analysis template is provided for our funding opportunity announcements, and is required as part of a grant application.
So as we said, we're gonna go through the options analysis, methodology, or framework, which is as follows. It's sort of a concept as _____ to a specific process, although we've templatized it for this funding opportunity announcements. And it consists of looking at your energy objectives, identifying specific project goals, and identifying options, and approach how are you going to analyze those options, preliminary screening, and, typically, a prefeasibility analysis, and then selection. And the website, there, where you can access a copy of the template that we've provided with our funding opportunity announcements is at the bottom of that slide.
Next slide, please?
So, we have, within that template, provided examples. So, for energy objectives, for instance, on Slide Four, we have examples of some of the primary objectives they could be, and they're gonna be different for every tribe. Maybe, you know, looking at net-zero energy goals, you know, minimizing lifecycle costs might be something of interest, increasing resiliency, which is, you know, of interest for many tribes that I'm aware of. Economic development, obviously jobs are always a high priority. Or aligning with long-term vision. So, these are examples, as I said, each energy objectives is gonna be different for every tribe or every community.
Going on to the next slide, please?
So, you might also have some secondary objectives, and we've included some examples here. Maybe it's workforce development, or education, or building internal capacity, maybe providing future expansion, you know, maybe the first project will be a pilot project, and then, you know, expand it to other buildings within the community, for instance.
Going on to the next slide?
So, once you sort of look at the big broad vision, you wanna look at very specific project goals, what do you wanna get out of a project, and the end result, and preferably a quantifiable metric. For instance, maybe it's onsite generation for one megawatt, once you've analyzed your future load requirements. Maybe it's saving 20 percent of your annual energy costs. It could be a number of things, if you're at the end of the line and typically first off and last back on, you know, maybe you want some local generation for three hours during emergency situations, providing peak power, maybe, to some of the key buildings. And the list goes on. Again, these are examples, and everyone will have to define what's important for them, and what is the ultimate goal of particular project.
So, once you've identified the project's specific goals –
Now I'm on Slide Seven – thank you.
– you wanna look at the options, and there's a variety. Typically, one will look at the baseline or the current state, what I call the do-nothing option. You also wanna look at the do-minimum option, which is defined as, you know, options that may be slightly off, which you're currently doing, maybe low investments in money and/or resources.
And then going on to the next slide, please?
And then the third, so we have, again, the current state, the do-nothing options, a do-minimum option, and then the do-something options. And, you know, you may look at conventional technologies, renewable or energy efficiency measures, to achieve whatever that defined and project-specific goals may be. So, the do-something options would identify possible alternative solutions, and those solutions would be identified on the basis of how they best meet the objectives or requirements. The do-something options typically involve an investment, depending on the energy objectives, the requirements, and in many cases, the focus is placed on costs. And every option is evaluated against that level of investment, and that's one method, for instance.
Okay, going on to the next slide, please?
Okay, so, if you've sort of identified various options, you would want to define the approach, how are you going to analyze these, how are you gonna compare your various options. So, some examples might be, in this case, maybe you have a three-step approach, for example. And there are many other examples we've included in the template, as well. Maybe you do a preliminary screening, to eliminate some nonviable technologies design your project approaches that don't meet the requirements. You know, maybe you collect vendor proposals and, you know, see what the options are, identify the vendors, solicit information and advice, and use those to evaluate various, you know, resources and technology information, and compare them. We also have the Tribal Energy Atlas we'll look over in a little bit more detail, in the subsequent slides.
And this, again, is a tool that might be used for comparing or screening options, as well. And then, maybe the third step in an approach of evaluating those options would be looking at maybe design modeling and prefeasibility types of analyses, to compare and analyze your various options.
Next slide, please?
So, as I said, the Tribal Energy Atlas was funded by the Office of Indian Energy, and developed through the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. And it is the first of its kind, that we're aware of, interactive geospatial application that enables tribes to conduct their analysis of installed energy projects and resource potential on tribal lands. And there's a number of data layers that can be accessed from the Office of Indian Energy website. The link is at the bottom of that slide.
Let's go on to the next slide, please?
So the Atlas is based on a technoeconomic potential analysis that was done. For instance, some of the results that occurred were that tribal lands currently make up a little less than six percent of the land area in the United States. And for a utility-scale, specifically renewable energy generation potential, it's about 6.5 percent of the total national potential. The thing with this particular tool is different than some of the older wind maps is rather than what I call sort of the gross growth potential, this one has been narrowed down to what really is more technically viable, or economic, for that matter. And so, it is a much more realistic analysis of what potential there are.
Going on to the next slide, please?
So, some of the data layers include the energy resource data, and again, this is really built for tribes in tribal lands, reservation boundaries, we have all of that, you know, transmission, railroads, et cetera. There's also infrastructure information and environmental information, there's energy efficiency savings depending on where in the country you live, there's electricity and natural gas prices. So again, these are just information and tools that might be useful when you're screening some of your energy options.
Next slide, please?
So, the next sort of step in this methodology is preliminary screening, and this is sort of an initial screening of various options before you invest any money in more detailed analyses. Preliminary screening will evaluate the options against specific criterion, and we've included a number of methods that might be used, screen the options against primary and secondary objectives, do they meet them, do they don't. We have the SWOT analysis – strengths, weakness, opportunity, and threats analysis – fatal flaw analysis, and identifying sort of pros and cons. And we have, within that template, sort of examples of each of those, as well, so I'm not going to go into that here, but if you're interested, you know, take a look at that template.
Next slide, please?
So, once you've completed the preliminary screening, and have less options, you may want to do some prefeasibility analysis going into a little more depth on the remaining options and how best they meet the overall objectives and project goals. So you might carry out a demand analysis. First, you need to sort of you need to know what your current energy demand is, you need to forecast future demand. The demand analysis basically aims to formulate a hypothesis about the project's capacity, so you can size whatever technology you ultimately choose. And that's going to be determined by your current demand and your forecast demand. For each of the identified options, you will need to conduct a demand analysis, to find out which options _____ the most suitable project capacity in size, in terms of current and future demand.
Next slide, please?
And as we've defined a prefeasibility analysis, the next step really would be toe valuate energy resources, do you have them, whether they, you know, be natural gas, whether they be, you know, wind or solar, whatever the case may be. And there's a number of tools that can be used I think for some resource analysis. Again, Roger Knight will be speaking _____ I think the Division of Energy and Mineral Development, you know, both on the renewable and the conventional fuel side would be a resource. And I've provided the link, there, and you'll have Roger's contact information at the end of the presentations, as well. The other thing would be either technical assistance through the Office of Indian Energy, or again, we have the Tribal Energy Atlas, which provides you quite a bit of information for screening.
So, once you know your resources, you wanna look at your technology options, you know, whether they be conventional, renewable, energy efficiency. And any other considerations or factors that are important, you know, fuel cost, fuel supply, you know, maybe it's autonomy, maybe it's cost stability – there's no end to things that might be important. But it's best to define those at this stage, in my opinion.
Next slide, please?
So, once you've completed the prefeasibility analyses, you'll probably be able to sort of ferret down the options that make the most sense for your particular situation, and the option selection. And you can, again, there are a number of different methods you can use to compare those project options, you know, whether it be multicriteria analysis lets you deal with a suite of different objectives that cannot be aggregated into a single benefit. Specifically, a multicriteria analysis is when a project is evaluated _____ more than just monetary terms. And it's a form of appraisal that, in addition to monetary impacts, measures variables such as material cost, time savings, project sustainability, as well as any social or environmental impacts that may be quantified but not so easily valued. Perform cost-effectiveness analysis – this step is where the project options are compared relative to costs and outcomes. Specifically, cost-effectiveness analysis is a form of an economic analysis that compares the relative costs and outcomes effects of different courses of action. This is distinct from a cost-benefit analysis which assigns a monetary value to the measure of effect, so the goal is to select an option that best meets the objectives.
Going on to the next slide, please? Thank you.
You wanna compare options – another methodology could be to evaluate the economic impacts. So, that could be levelized cost of energy, rates of return, net present values, et cetera. So there's a number of methodologies for this comparison, and ultimately, to make a decision in a project that best meets the goals of the tribe and/or community, and that you've gone through enough options and have the information to choose between those. So again, that's the sort of framework, as we've said.
And next slide, please?
Again, I wanna, you know, thank you for your time, and we're gonna take questions at the end of all the presentations, so I'll hand this back over to James.
James Jensen: Thank you, Lizana. Thanks for providing that, you know, overview of the roads to evaluating your energy options. Now we're gonna move on to kind of tips and advice and information on kind of how to, you know, simply evaluate the energy options you identified.
So, with that, Doug Gagne, as introduced earlier, will talk about the renewable side of this. Thank you.
Doug Gagne: Great, thank you, all. So, as noted, I'll be covering some back of the envelope approaches to evaluating a select group of renewal energy technologies, today. Omitted, here, are hydropower and geothermal, as they tend to be very site-specific. The goal for today's discussion is to help tribes make informed decisions about these technologies, without needing detailed subject matter expertise. That said, after advancing past an initial screening phrase, more detailed analysis is appropriate and recommended, to ensure that your project will perform as expected.
So, first, it's important to note that there are many tangible benefits to utility-scale renewable energy development, as shown on this slide. These benefits include jobs, lease payments, and funds to develop tribal infrastructure. They can involve both direct job creation and indirect job creation, from developers being working in a region. They can involve development of the workforce, training for tribal members to become wind turbine technicians. Leases of the land generally involve a payment to tribes for the use of the land for solar, wind, or other renewable energy development. Similarly, utility-scale developers can offer community funds to support infrastructure in the tribal communities. And there are, typically, tax revenues, as well, to benefit local government.
Before we dive in detailed discussions of each technology, I wanted to first highlight one useful source for many of the data points and rules of thumb discussed in this webinar. The NREL Annual Technology Baseline provides a transparent set of technology cost and performance data for renewable energy analysis. If you're in need of specific data on a technology, this is a great starting place.
Now for the overview. I'll be covering the following three technologies: solar PV, onshore wind, and biomass generation. We will finish with a discussion of several tools that can facilitate this early screening process.
Now, first, we'll cover solar photovoltaics, also known as solar PV.
Solar PV works by converting sunlight into electricity, with no moving parts. This results in high reliability, and requires very little ongoing maintenance to ensure that the system continues producing electricity. A PV system is comprised of many modules, also called panels, linked together, making them easy to piece together to fit a site's needs. They can also be mounted in a fixed position, to a steel structure called a rack, which is called fixed-tilt PV, which I'll be referencing later on. Or they can be mounted onto a structure which rotates to track the sun from east to west, which is called single-tracking, single-axis tracking PV.
Concerning the cost of solar, the cost of solar has declined immensely, in a very short period of time, from more than $4.00 per watt for PV panels before 2008, to between 30 cents to 40 cents in 2019. These installed costs shown here in the table below are national averages from the annual technology baseline that I mentioned before, but they can be much lower in certain markets, as well, such as the southeast. One easy metric for comparing different types of technologies, whether it be solar compared with wind, or solar compared with natural gas generation, is to look at their levelized cost of energy. Which, in short, lets you compare how much one unit of energy or kilowatt hour costs from that technology, after factoring in all of the technology-specific costs asset-wise and operating characteristics. Finally, I'll note that, although the baseline costs shown here vary from $1,800.00 per KW to $3,800.00 per kW, there are many press releases and noted market reports of installed solar costs at $1,000.00 per kilowatt or lower. As well as PPA, or power purchase agreement, prices between 2 and 4 cents per kilowatt hour, which can be due to local incentives and PPA agreement considerations such as their escalation rates.
So, if you're looking to site PV, there are several good rules of thumb to consider. It's very important that the PV is not shaded, as this can greatly hurt production. If even a small number of panels are shaded, they can bring down the production of many of the other panels that are wired in parallel to them. When looking at rooftops, existing roofs that are relatively new are also good candidates. Tribes should also consider adding PV to new planned construction, as that can help to reduce costs, as well. However, rooftop PV is not typically developed at utility-scale, only ground-mounted PV is suitable for this purpose.
When looking at ground-mounted solar, land slopes should be less than five percent in general, and ideally less than three percent. The site should also be close to electrical substations to interconnect the power and also have road access so that the materials can be easily delivered and installed. Environmental considerations such as the National Environmental Protection Act are also very important for utility-scale projects. Other types of land that can be utilized, such as landfills and brown fields, can be viable uses of PV, rather than disturbing a new green field site, as well. Although there can be additional installation costs, especially with landfills, which generally cannot be penetrated by the steel rack systems.
So, when looking to site PV, a good rule of thumb for figuring out how much land will be needed is to assume that PV generally requires five to seven contiguous acres per megawatt, for the entire site footprint, depending on the type of PV system. Before, I mentioned the fixed-access or single-access tracking systems; those will require slightly different amounts of land, as shown in the table to the left. In addition, not all of that five to seven acres is covered in solar panels. There's also land requirements for roads, setbacks, fencing, and possibly a substation on the site. In the image on the right, you can see the solar panels depicted in orange, where they would directly be using that land area, as well as additional land for setbacks in the total site, that would be generally enclosed in a fence, which would be the total land area.
Now, once you've identified a suitable site for a potential PV project, it's worthwhile to assess the solar resource in that spot. Solar PV resource does not vary that much throughout the United States, with the worst and best spots in the US only differing by about a factor of two. So, for example, shown in that map, some of the worst spots in Alaska might have three kilowatt hours per square meter per day of resource, and some of the best spots in the desert southwest might have a bit more than six kilowatt hours per square meter per day. So, this is important to note, because it means that solar resource generally is still important, certainly, but it can be a little bit less critical than for other technologies such as wind, which I'll get to later. So, to estimate the production of your site, you can get a rough sense of your production, just how good your resource is in general, by looking at the map above and seeing how dark-red that color is for your specific site.
Or for a more accurate estimate, you can use NREL's PV Watts tool, with the link shown below, to calculate production. With that tool, you can enter in a zip code or a location or a latitude and longitude, to get a rough estimate of how much production a specified system size would provide.
Once you wanna get a bit more into the weeds for a more detailed estimate, you can use the Renewable Energy Atlas to get a specific capacity factor number, as shown in the detailed calculation at the top. And use the above formula to calculate an annual production estimate for the PV system size that you're considering. Another rule of thumb that you can use, similar to looking at the map, is to look at roughly where your site is in relation to these different specific locations that were called out in the Annual Technology Baseline. And just multiply the system that you were thinking about developing against these levels, to get a rough sense of how much annual production you would be able to achieve. And you would pick the site, that location that's closest to your location, or looks like most similar in terms of color on the map above.
And I'd also just wanna note that, although these rule of thumbs are important to get a rough sense, before developing a utility-scale project, developers will typically perform very detailed site measurements with their own equipment, as well. So this doesn't have to be the end all be all production estimate.
So, once a suitable site's been identified and it looks like it has a good solar resource potential, we can explore what benefits the project would provide to a tribe. One benefit is employment during the construction phase of the solar PV system. Most of the labor associated with PV is for construction only, and very few long-term jobs are graded. This is because PV is low maintenance and does not require much additional labor during operations. However, in addition to jobs, other benefits that we discussed before include land lease payments, which can be relatively large due to the large land requirements of solar, community infrastructure upgrades from developers, and workforce development, which will vary regionally.
Now we'll transition to the next technology, which is onshore wind.
So, just to give a brief overview of the technology, at its simplest, onshore wind works by converting energy in the wind into rotation in a generator, which produces electricity that is distributed to the electricity grid. In practice, it's a good deal more complicated than this, but this is a basic overview of how the system generally works.
There are many different sizes and types of wind turbines. The type and application of wind turbine can vary by size. Small- and midscale windfarms are best for remote or community applications, as they tend to cost a little more and have specific siting requirements. Because these turbines are not as tall, they are also much more susceptible to turbulence, which can affect their production. I'll unpack this later on. The focus on this presentation will be on large utility-scale onshore wind, shown in the bottom-left, which would be the technology used for conventional utility-scale development in the US. In the bottom-right, offshore wind is still an emerging technology in the United States, but is commercial in Europe. This technology will likely continue to grow, but again, the focus for this webinar will be the large land-based windfarms shown in the bottom-left.
So, when trying to get a sense of what these wind farms might cost, although the utility-scale capital cost to install these windfarms doesn't vary that much by region, it is extremely resource-dependent. So, even if the cost of turbines is relatively similar regionally, their wind resources is not. Their operating costs are about $50.00 per kilowatt of capacity, per year, which is a bit higher than solar, but still relatively low compared to other generating technologies. Finally, the levelized cost of energy varies considerably, because of the range in wind resource throughout the US. It's important to note that a windfarm with a levelized cost of energy at that higher end of the range would probably never be built, because it would be too expensive to compete with other forms of generation.
So generally, windfarms with lower levelized costs of energy, more around that 3.7 cent per kilowatt hour range, are more likely to be the ones that would competitive in the market. For now, it's just important to understand that the wind resource is critical to the economics of a wind project.
So, for identifying a wind site, tribes should identify large regions of land, with the understanding that only a small portion of the land will be developed. This is because land requirements for land are unique in that they only disturb a very small portion, as shown on the righthand figure. You might need a large area with multiple hills and a diversity of different land areas to place the wind turbines, even though the turbines would only be put in a relatively small area. Rode access to all of these turbines is another land disturbance, and generally, leasing for these windfarms is performed at the total land requirement. Although those rates tend to be considerably smaller than the land lease rate for solar, which would be a completely utilized area with no other potential benefit.
These windfarms can often involve multiple uses of the land, because very little is ultimately disturbed. Other beneficial uses such as agriculture grazing, and other different economic activities can still occur around the windfarms, as long as they don't directly interfere or are affected by it.
So, once the site is developed, developers will typically need to measure their wind resource production in great detail, and typically, for multiple years. They do this by installing meteorological towers that can range from 60 to 80 meters in height, that will allow them to get a good sense of what the resource is. They need to do this to provide confidence to their investors that the resource will be what they think it is. And again, this is so critical, because the economics of the windfarm really hinge upon that wind source being accurate and what they think it is. When you're looking for sites, other criteria that you wanna be aware of that can be disqualifiers for a windfarm are, the presence of avian, bird, and bat migration pathways, proximity to population centers that could be concerned about the project, and the presence of NEPA criteria such as endangered species, cultural resources, historic buildings, et cetera, are major siting concerns.
The setbacks, so, having land in a radius around a turbine, are county-dependent. At minimum, turbines will need to be at least 1.1 times the structure height away from roads, property lines, and electric lines. And they will also need to be at a distance of at least five times the rotor diameter, from other turbines, to minimize turbulence disturbance in the air.
So, I've talked a lot about turbulence. Micrositing refers to how a wind turbine is placed on a given property. Trees and buildings are significant obstacles to the wind. We can't see it, but the region of disturbed flow downwind of an obstacle is twice the height of that obstacle, and is also quite long. For example, a 30-foot tall house creates a region of turbulence that's 60 feet high and 600 feet long, 2 football fields' worth. This turbulence reduces the power output from a wind turbine, and increases the stress and wear on that turbine.
The solution is generally to place that turbine upwind of obstacles, in the prevailing wind direction, or use a tower twice the height of obstacles, or both. Again, as I mentioned earlier, small and midsized wind is great affected by this type of turbulence in micrositing issues. So it's very important, when looking at a community-scale wind project, to do a very detailed analysis of potential objects that could cause turbulence and affect production and O&M considerations.
Once a site has been identified, the tribe should do an initial look at estimating wind production. Wind production varies considerably, even in a really small area, so it's important to note that these wind production estimates will be a very rough guess of the actual production of a wind farm. As I mentioned before, the developers will be doing the due diligence, installing met towers and doing their homework to ensure that their production numbers are spot on. The wind resource in the United States, as you can see in the map, varies much more than solar, by more than a factor of five from the best to worst locations. And even in a very small area, you can see very large variations in the wind resource.
Many of these lower wind speed regions, shown in the lighter colors on the map, are not economically viable for utility-scale wind development. Utility-scale wind farms will generally need relatively high-weighted average wind speeds, with very consistent winds, to ensure that a project is able to produce enough electricity to be economically viable. If you wanna do a more detailed assessment of your wind production potential, you can go to NREL's Wind Prospector tool, and zoom in and explore the resource in your region, gathering the applicable data layers around capacity factor, weighted average wind speed, to get a better sense of, where on your specific site that you're looking at, wind resource might be best for a project.
Now, don't get too nervous, we're only gonna do math for a very small amount of time. This slide shows the potential resource in the wind itself. So, the big takeaway, without getting too far into it, is that small increases in the average wind speed cause big increases in the energy production. This is because, as shown here, a 25 percent higher wind speed doubles the amount of power available that can be harvested from a wind far.
Another key factor in understanding wind resources is to understand that taller turbines generally are able to tap into higher average wind speeds with less turbulence, making turbulence with taller tower heights a driving force in wind manufacturing. So, if a developer has identified a suitable site on tribal lands, there may be some employment benefit during the construction phase of the wind far. This would also likely involve workforce development to ensure that tribal employees are up-to-date with the latest safety and wind turbine construction codes. Most of the labor, much like solar, is also construction-only for wind, with relatively few long-term jobs created, although more than solar. Given the specialized nature of windfarm construction and maintenance, wind turbine technician training is something that could be available, as well.
In addition, other benefits that we discussed before, that would also be applicable for windfarm development, would include land lease payments. And again, I would note that these land lease payments can be in two stages, both during that period where the developer is measuring the windspeed and getting a sense of the wind production. They would pay a still considerable but smaller amount for the ability to lease that land to install the met towers, and then, would pay a larger amount to lease the amount for the actual windfarm production, period. And again, other benefits such as community infrastructure upgrades and workforce development can also be accrued by these projects.
Now I'll move on to the final technology category that we will discuss, which is biomass, which is a very broad category and includes many types of energy projects.
As shown here, there are many different types of biomass projects, ranging from cellulosic, or plant-based, biomass projects to anaerobic digestion biochemical types of plants. Biomass plants can produce many different products, including heat, electrical power, and coproducts such as fertilizers, all while processing materials that would otherwise be treated as waste. Some of these processes are shown here, such as combustion, gasification, pyrolysis, and anaerobic digestion. In practice, the most common of these processes is combustion, and in the US, biomass is most commonly used for heat. But in other parts of the world, such as Germany, anaerobic digestion is very common.
Here is a noncomprehensive list of all of the potential feedstocks. And just for definition purposes, a feedstock is a material fed into the biomass plant, to produce energy that biomass plants can use. Knowing what types of feedstocks your tribe has access to within a radius of roughly 10 to 15 miles – it really depends on the quantity and quality of resource – can be a good starting point to assessing your potential for a biomass project.
So, estimating cost for biomass is tricky; because there's such a variety in biomass plants, it's difficult to include rules of thumb around our costs. The Annual Technology Baseline assumes installed cost of about $4,000.00 per kilowatt, but this varies significantly depending on the type and location of the technology. One rule that does not vary is that biomass plants generally require economies of scale to be cost-effective. Smaller 1- to 2-megawatt plants are much more difficult to develop than 10-megawatt to 50-megawatt projects. This is in large part because they have much larger O&M and operating requirements than do some of the other technologies such as solar and wind. And those O&M requirements generally are about the same for a 1-megawatt plant to a 50-megawatt plant; they require a similar number of individuals, which I'll touch on later.
If you're considering siting a biomass plant, note that the land required is much, much smaller than that for solar or wind. Again, there's no single rule of thumb for acres per megawatt, but you can assume that it would be more on the order of 5 to 15 acres for the total biomass plant, rather than the hundreds of acres discussed in the solar and wind technology sections. If your tribe does seem to have a good biomass resource that might be usable, the next step is to explore its availability, the cost of competing fuels, and your local emission regulations. The quantity, quality, and consistency of feedstocks is critical to the success of a biomass project. Sites that can be easily accessed by delivery vehicles for the feedstock are preferred, as well as sites that are not too close to population centers that could raise siting concerns. Finally, a critical consideration is whether the biomass plant can be collocated with other buildings or infrastructure that requires a significant amount of heat. This can improve the overall efficiency and economics of the project, as well.
Much like operating costs, biomass production varies considerably by technology, but generally results in relatively high capacity factors compared with solar and wind. This means that a biomass plant can run for more like 50 to 70 percent of the hours in a year, which can allow it to receive additional payments such as capacity payments in certain energy markets. To estimate the resource potential, i.e. the feedstock that's available for a biomass plant, you can use the Tribal Energy Atlas that Lizana discussed before, to give you an upper-end estimate of the feedstock and biomass resource potential. However, this estimate should be very thoroughly explored through discussions with the local feedstock providers, as those resources may already be accounted for.
Finally, the job requirements for a biomass plant would generally involve 50 to 40 fulltime employees during the operation and maintenance phase. This includes electrical and mechanical supervision, feedstock processing, plant O&M, and so on. Biomass plants generally require this many individuals regardless of their size, meaning that larger plants such as 10- to 50-megawatt plants are generally required to achieve sufficient economies of scale to be competitive with other generation technologies.
Finally, here are some of the resources which we've referenced throughout the presentation, that will be useful in evaluating potential projects.
Thank you for your attention, and I hope that these rules of thumb will help you identify some great projects.
Now I'll hand it back to James.
James Jensen: Thank you, Doug. Excellent presentation, a lot of interesting stuff, there.
Now we'll transition over to Roger Knight, who will be talking about natural gas-based project opportunities. Roger, you can proceed as your slides arrive.
Roger Knight: All right, thank you. Everybody, welcome.
I'm with the Division of Energy and Minerals, and to show you where we fit in the organization, we report to the Secretary of Indian Affairs. We are not the BIA, even though our e-mail addresses and everything is associated with BIA. On the direct line, we report to the Deputy Assistant Secretary. So it's very important that we're not part of the team of the BIA; we're part of the Office of Economic Development.
Our mission statement is to provide the best technical and economic advice. We wanna provide self-sufficiency economic for the tribe, and a sustainable economy.
All of our projects are economic-based, and we're advisory, we're not regulatory. We don't have any signature authority on any type of project, we assist with energy and economic, it's essentially a consulting firm, and we only work when the tribes ask us to apply our expertise to the projects. We work on a personal basis, we visit the tribes, we know the leadership, and we try to get a feel for what the vision of the tribe is when we're trying to work with the tribe on developing any projects or what we're gonna do. DEMD knows the tribes, so we provide technical assistance, and also, we have grants.
DEMD, the Division of Energy and Minerals, we have five basic groups where we actually work, and we don't charge the tribes. We have the fluid minerals, where we have seven geologists, eight petroleum engineers, geophysicists, geophysical processors, an MBA, we do all oil and gas resource assessment [audio cuts out] we also can help with geothermal. Solid minerals group, which does aggregate and metals, has five geologists that work with them. We have renewable group, which does wind, solar, biomass, hydro, and we have a combination of civil, electrical, mechanical, MBA, and planning people for that group. Business services, that's one that actually works on one of our grants, and they have an MBA and help with capacity-building for tribes.
Our data mapping services, which takes, actually, the information out from a digital input into a geospatial platform, which helps the tribes when we're trying to locate assets, pipelines, anything else it might be doing. We also have two grants that come out of our Office Energy and Mineral Development program; this is for resource assessment, and it's handled by our group and analyzed. And we have the Tribal Energy Development Capacity Grant, which is more business-oriented, and it comes out once a year, also.
Now, why would somebody want to actually do gas, natural gas power, actually do something for the tribe, and it could be high energy rates or utility rates, something that the tribe can use to lower those rates. Maybe it's isolated gas fields on the reservation that need to be produced. There's no pipelines, there's nothing around; _____ they're doing value added by running a pipeline or taking the gas, and generating electricity or doing something can bring royalty income to the tribes. Low well head prices – although the stated price for natural gas is $3.00 in MCF, by the time you get back to well head with all the transportation costs, you may be down to $1.00 or less at the well head. And so, if there's something that we could add to value this gas, to bring more royalty, to get the production up, this would help.
Another problem that a lot of tribes face is they're at the end of the line, the pipeline people can get gas closer to where it's used, and so they may not be able to take volumes from further out in the system. We're looking at value-added possibilities, either electrical, L&G, or using the byproducts, heat from a generator, or for a greenhouse, or for heating buildings, or doing something that adds value to the gas and then makes it more profitable. One of our big things with gas generation is, it's baseload, but you need to have power purchase agreements, if you're gonna go the utility scale or if you're gonna do a microgrid or the utilities you wanna add to the system, if they're need added electrical generation. Then lastly, we do have job creation, and depending on – we don't have any good rules of thumb like some of the other projects, because everything is way – everything is different for every project we do, it's very hard for you to look at a rule of thumb, how much is it gonna cost, how much do we need. Every well is different, every well produces different, so it's very hard to look at something and get a rule of thumb.
The energy development capacity _____ what we look at is – ours is very similar to Lizana's – as we look at something, if you're passive, you're just paying the bills, you're not looking at anything that's happening. Then we go to where you're aware, you say, "What can we use? How can we do energy usage, impacts, energy efficiency? What can we do to help the members save money and maximize revenue on the reservation?" Then we move on to engaged, where you evaluate, look at what resources the tribe may have, and what you can do to monetize those projects into sustainable income jobs. Then finally, you'll get to where you're actually investing in energy projects, and then when you're innovating, when you're collaborating, maybe you're now going from a microgrid or a local generation into a utility size structure. This is all reliant on the tribe, that tribe's vision is to build the capacity, to be self-sufficient.
Part of the understanding of all this assessment goes back to everything you've been watching with Lizana, and the wind, and the solar; applies for gas and electric, also. But you need to understand the energy dynamics, where actually is the energy being consumed, how much, what is the current infrastructure, are there transmission lines, are there pipelines, are there delivery lines, where are the right of ways, how far are they, what is actually, who has and what's the length of the contracts, how long have they been in service, are these right of ways coming up for renegotiation. So, you need to know all that. And if you do have electrical lines or pipelines, you need to know the capacity, how much gas is in the lines, how many electrons can you put into an overhead if you're doing utility, or where can you put in extra capacity, or where does a utility company need extra power, or do they have access. Those need to be known.
The wholesale market is something very special. If you're trying to go to a bigger type of project, where are you marketing. Are you doing local? Are you doing utility, electrical? You may sell right to the utility on a PPA, on the pipelines, you may wanna market something on a further basis, or you're gonna have to look for gas for your system at a further location, where can you get it into the pipeline, how can you get it out close to your market so it can be value-added. You also have to look at, when you're understanding the structure of what potential leverage you have with income, what utilities, are there right of ways that are gonna be expiring.
Are there transmission line right of ways, and there's something that you had legislation that gives you opportunities to buy electricity and cheaper power or gas or whatever you have. Part of this comes back to good governance for when you're understanding the dynamics that you need fair and equitable laws, so when you're working on a project, you can entice financing and people to come work on your reservation. The electrical or the development of oil and gas is much more expensive, you have a lot of returns, but it is a very cost-intensive operation.
_____ _____ the tribal finance, what can the tribe do to get into the business or to operate with natural gas or any energy. You have the availability of loans, grants, long guarantee, opportunity zones, there are a lot of federal agencies, the DOI, DOE, USDA, that have various programs that can help you either with loans or grants or guarantees. All these government agencies need to be researched, and find out really what you can do to monetize your resource and get it into production. Our group does have a loan guarantee project, we do have the grant. We don't have the money that the DOE has on some of theirs. We do resource assessment where DOE could help you with actual more development and resource assessment.
And you're looking at maybe you need to do a joint venture where you have investors. This goes back to the type of business that you've established, and where the tribe could come up with money. Most tribes don't have that amount of money that is needed to run these projects. There are some other big tribes that have been in the business; they can either get loans or self-fund'em. But the normal reservation and tribes do not have money to really monetize all their resource. So you might have to look at either an existing utility company to help with the financing or be a partner with what you're doing. If they can come up with some of the money, the tribe comes up and does the operations, or they're just an investing partner.
The existing utility company could look favorably on partnering with the tribe because the tribe could use their loans, grants, or guarantees to obtain lower capital fees or put the capital in. And so, the utility company does not have to come up with utility; they just partner and pay the partnership fee or the payments for the equipment.
We got tribal utility – this is something that our TDC program really helps with the grant program is trying to establish a tribal utility. And when you do the research and see what you really stand for with the tribe, what their mission is, how much resource you have, how big is your facility gonna be, you'll look at it, maybe you can generate a baseload for the utility, or a portion of it. What are your offtakes – if you have a utility, a lot of these, the bigger ones, are geothermal or wind or projects like that, you'll have an opportunity, having a tribal utility, where you can take off some electricity and then use that at a cheaper rate to fund either a business or part of the reservation buildings or whatever you might wanna fund. The funding benefit is greatly enhanced with being a utility, because you do have the rural electric association, you have the USDA, and other organizations can help with the funding of a utility. Federal assistance – that goes back to the same helping with the MEPA funding grants.
And then, you also have a tribal preference, which could help you get contracts or get access to projects or utilities or something that the tribe wants to invest in or provide power for a military base. You still have to be competitive, but you do have a preference.
When you're gonna develop – we'll talk about three different ways of developing it. One was, if you have the resource and you develop a new reserves where you take and try to develop a new on a gas field or area, where you can take offtake off of a natural gas pipeline, or where you use existing production and a pipeline to acquire the gas.
Well, so, when you go to develop this natural gas supply, of course, you need to have a – if you're gonna do electricity, you need the power purchase agreement, is there something around. The good thing is, this is baseload, so it could be advantageous for a tribe to be looking for a baseload incentive, something that's intermittent, or use this to supplement your intermittent power. When you look at the existing, the infrastructure, pipelines, it'd be nice to have a rule of thumb here, but every pipeline is a different size, a different pressure, and so, the throughput is all over the place. You don't know, as you increase the pressure, you get more capacity, and so it has to be valued on a case-by-case basis. When you decide and you decide the size of your offtake, is that capacity available, who owns the gas.
A lot of times, if the gas goes through, is it the pipeline owns it or is it already contracted, is there gas available that you could buy off the pipeline, and then the pipeline pick up your excess capacity to meet its downstream needs. So the capacity availability is something critical, you can't just get onto the pipeline and take what you need. And part of that is how can you get to the pipeline, is it convenient, the connection points needs to be available, and something that could get to transmission lines. You need the same thing on what is the voltage, how far is the interconnect, what's the capacity like, and can they put more electricity into it, can you take electricity off, what is the status of that line. And a big thing that we're facing a lot of times with tribes is just the cooperation of the utility company.
Some of them, or, I'd say most of them will work with the tribe, work with people, but a lot of'em don't want any interference, they don't want you to add voltage or capacity, they don't want you to be part of their business. And so, that's where you have to go to a microgrid or go to a larger utility that somebody may want your electricity if you're providing enough.
Here are the estimates of natural gas usage for different prospects, and with this, for 1 megawatt, you're gonna use about 312 MCF per day. And that would equate to over 2 million MCF per 20-year payout, so you'd have to have enough capacity reserves to provide that much of electricity, or for that much electricity, have that much gas. So, let's say one well is producing 300 MCF per day, that could produce one megawatt, but then you also have decreased rates. And what happens when the well declines? You have to keep adding to that volume. So, this would give you an idea, for a 20-year project, how much gas you need to have and reserves and rate, to supply your generation power.
When you're looking at developing a new field, this is a lot higher risk for tribes. This is something that is very risk-weighted, because first you have to find the prospect, the gas, and then you also have to drill it, you don't know how much it's actually gonna produce, you don't know how many wells you're gonna have. You have to have the resource available, of course. And so, if you're in a gas province that you could do something, then the tribe could say, "All right, let's look at developing the prospect and let's develop _____ _____." And we've talked to some tribes about doing this, and it's a combination of developing the play plus having your PPA. So if we look at an area, we're looking at a total development cost just to get started and have adequate reserves _____ probably $48 million-plus.
This would account for exploration, and this is seismic, _____, any other type of explorationary program that would be planned would cost about $4 million. And for just a round number, let's say you need ten wells to give you enough production to get the project up, and then have enough _____, at $3 million per well, there's $30 million. And then any infrastructure _____ _____ lines, generator, that'd be another $4 million to get it to a point where you can actually get your generation. On _____, I always like to have – take the gas to the electrical. It's easier to get a gas line in than some of the power lines. You don't have the loss of energy, and you're saving all the infrastructure with running transmission lines, which they take long.
The problem with developing a new field is that it takes five-plus years to develop, depending on the size. The first three years are probably just used for exploration, mapping, deciding where there could be structures. Seismic itself costs about $75,000.00 to $100,000.00 for a 3D one square mile _____ of that. So, if you're talking 10 square miles, you're talking $1 million for that exploration, and do the mapping, drill a well to prove out your discovery, and then drill your other wells to get up your reserves and your rate that _____ _____ _____ minimum of 5 years, and probably more. Now, if you have your gas contract, if the tribe is doing it, you're gonna have a delay in income from the time you actually drill a well till you start producing it.
This is something that exploration companies have now, but they start building their pipelines, and as soon as they get it to a market, they can start selling it. Well, if you have a five-year delay because you're gonna do a generator or hook to a transmission line, you have to figure out some way to account for this delay in income, and be able to take care of any loans or payments on that, or your partners. You need to get, when you're looking at this field, you need to have adequate reserves for a 20-year supply of gas. So, you have to have something sufficient to meet your needs of electricity, but it still will take time to drill all the wells. And then, the problem, when I say you have ten wells to start with, you'll have to have continuous drilling, through the years, to maintain the necessary rates to provide the gas necessary to run generators.
These wells will start, let's say, at 500 MCF a day, and within two years, they'll be down to 200 or 100 MCF, and then tail off and keep a flight decline from that [audio cuts out] down. But you'll have to replace that first 300 initial production, and bring it back up so you can maintain the rate that's required with the number of wells. One of the things with gas production, if you're gonna have a new well, new contract, you might have to work for a prepayment schedule, where whoever is an investor or whoever has the well, you get money ahead of time, and you're actually paying for produced gas before you get the well produced. So, you're moving the payments up so you can delay the production.
And when you're looking at the wells _____ _____ _____ the whole amount of gas per well is the reserves, and that's what you need to have to provide gas for the system for the whole 20 years. But importantly is the production rate, that you're gonna need that 300 MCF per day, to run from 1 megawatt, so, you have to maintain that, so you're gonna have to keep adding wells to maintain that 300 MCF. So, you may start with 1 or 2 wells providing enough production, but you'll end up with 30, 40, 50 wells that require to maintain those rates towards the end of the line. And how do you estimate production history? You have to go on what is produced, what's in the area. It's like in the Gul of Mexico, those wells last five years. They're tremendously high volumes to start with, but then they drop off and they're not economical after five years.
Where some fields in Wyoming or Oklahoma, they could last for 100 years. Now, they're very small amounts of gas at the end, so you need a lot. But it's something that you have to look at when you're looking at a field, how long it's gonna take, what's it gonna be. And you use complicated mathematics and simulation to predict what the future well production would be, how much reserves you have, what is the forecasted rate one could expect from the wells to plan your business.
Now, the easiest is, if you have a natural gas pipeline close by and you wanna get access _____, just to get access to the line, they call it hot tapping, they'll charge you up to – probably more than $1 million, just to get access to the line. And that's to pay for the privilege of using their pipeline to get gas to your project. And before you go into getting the access, you have to find out is there gas available for purchase, has all the gas been committed, is there somewhere that the utility or who owns the pipeline can restock the pipeline further down the pipeline if you take out some of the gas ahead of their purchases. So you need to find out, from utility or who actually is transporting the gas, if there is something _____ available for available purchase. The infrastructure would cost another $1 million, and this is assuming that the line is fairly close to where you wanna generate; you run a pipeline to your facility.
And here again, this varies with the length _____ you can put a compressor on there to get gas to you where you don't need as big of a pipeline, but you still have to be able to get it to where you wanna do the interconnect. And then you have another at least $2 million for the generator and interconnect. Now, this type of project, you're gonna need a gas marketing staff, and this is somebody that's gotta look at purchasing the gas, the – you might be able to get a five-year contract at a certain rate. The volatility of five to ten years ago, a lot of people went back to the spot market one-month, five-month contract, six-month contract, so it's really varied. And you have to remember that this is a commitment to your tribal members: if you're gonna provide utility, gas, or electricity to the market, you need to be committed. And so, the gas marketing staff must be knowledgeable on where to buy gas, where to go if you're gonna just get it from the pipeline, and to be able to keep the necessary stock of what you're gonna do with the gas.
Now, _____ _____ _____ the best, if you're looking at it, we have tribes with existing companies doing production, and they – you can look at purchasing the reserves, buying the wells, you can do an evaluation to see how much is there, you can have the value-added incentive. You get some of the ones where you have a lot of transportation charges before the gas gets to market, so instead of the $3.00 value, you're down to $1.00. Maybe you can take it locally, and then you'll be able to pay $1.25, and give the company incentive to sell to you, then you'll have still cheaper gas to do your energy value-added of making electricity or what you're gonna do. Now, the gas volumes, are they available for purchase? So, first you have to have the reserves, then are they really able to purchase, are these on contracts, what is the person that owns the gas, will they work with you.
_____ _____ come back to the same problem there, you need to be ready to buy the gas when you get the market, instead of having to wait, once you get the compressor, and then go out and do the marketing. You'll need a gas marketing staff for this type of production, if you've gotta work with several people, and then also with the natural gas pipeline, you'll be buying gas. And then, with the baseloads, you have something really a lot more efficient, because you have existing production that is fairly close that you can save transportation cost. And then you'll have the natural gas pipeline gas available to shore up any of your long-term needs or anything for baseload.
_____ _____ some rules of thumb, everything is up in the air when you look at it, you have to define the system, you have to define the resource, and work with what you have on your plans. So if you want assistance, you need to ask us, and then we'll do our best to help you. Like I said, we have technical inhouse, then we have the grants hall.
And then, here's our grant program is the Energy and Mineral Development for the EMDPs. For oil and gas, Jerry Cuzella, he's a petroleum geologist, and his contact information. He'll get in touch with me and all the rest of our staff, to help you _____. And then we also have the TEDC, the development grant, Michael Stevenson. Mike is an electrical engineer but also works with renewable and with the TEDC. The good thing about our grants is, we work with you on developing the grants, we can help you with your scope of work, and it usually works out better as our funding is limited. But we can help you with writing the grant, working on developing it into something that we could fund, and then it's a competitive grant.
We don't have that much money, but we'll do our best to either give you the inhouse technical assistance if we can't provide grants for a lot of this. Along with our EMDP, we do have access to all the seismic lines; we have thousands of miles of seismic. And we could help with, if you decide that you do wanna do your own resource or wanna work with it, we have an inhouse processor so we can reprocess your lines to help develop a prospect and work with you.
James Jensen: Thank you, Roger – excellent presentation and challenging topic given how site-specific or case-specific each project is, but thanks for your insight.
So with that, we'll jump into a questions and answers session. We do have time for questions, plenty of time, so please do submit any questions that you have at this point. I have a couple of questions, here, that I'll submit to the panelists, and then certainly take any other questions that I see come in.
A question for Lizana – and maybe you addressed this, Lizana, and I missed it, but – do you have any thoughts on how tribes can identify their energy objectives? Like, how to go through a process to determine what their energy objective is, and get buy-in from the broader tribe?
Lizana Pierce: You know, one of the things that we do over under the technical assistance is strategic energy planning, which is, DOE or contractor staff would come to the site. The responsibility of the tribe or the requestor would be to bring, you know, folks together from various levels, leadership, staff, you know, management, and across the various departments. And this facilitated workshop would then help sort of bring together and hopefully get consensus on what those objectives could be for the community. You know, or you could do something similar, you know, inhouse, just get all the right players together, 'cause energy is sort of pervasive, it affects, you know, almost everything, housing, you know, operations, I mean, it just enables economic development. So it really does affect, you know, all sort of facets and aspects of the tribe. So that would be my suggestion, one of them, either request technical assistance – there's a simple online form on our website – or, you know, internally, you could do something similar, as well, bring the folks together and try to reach consensus on what those objectives might be.
James Jensen: Thanks, Lizana – excellent.
A question, here, for Doug Gagne: Solar fixed-mount versus single-axis tracking – do you have any thoughts on how a tribe can make that decision, or at least, you know, at the early stage, kind of consider their options and maybe dismiss one versus the other?
Doug Gagne: Yeah, so there's a few considerations. It will depend on the type of project that's being pursued, first off. If they're looking at a rooftop project, it will be fixed-mount. If it is carport, it will most likely be – it'll be fixed-mount, almost certainly. So it really just comes down to the ground mount application. If they are looking to own the system, they will make that decision of whether they wanna pursue fixed-access or single-access tracking. If it's a developer that's looking to build it, the developer will make that decision; it'll be more just about the tribe identifying land that would be really suitable and attractive to a developer.
So, really, the main case that we're looking at is tribal, you know, entities looking to own and operate a system or purchase a system under a PPA, where they would have some sort of input into the design. Generally, it'll just depend on the resource. It becomes more and more attractive to do the single-access tracking in higher resource areas; you see a bigger bump in production. It also depends on, you know, what you're using that power for, and what time of day you want that power. So, there's a few considerations, but I think for a rule of thumb level, you know, if you're in a lower resource area, you're more in that three, four-and-a-half range of kilowatt hour per meter squared per day, you're not as dark-red on that map we showed earlier, you're probably gonna be looking more at fixed-access. And if you're in the desert southwest where you have a really good solar resource, it's probably worth your while to look at the additional money to do the single-access. That's become the standard for utility-scale development in the desert.
James Jensen: Great, thanks, Doug.
Doug Gagne: Sure.
James Jensen: Another question for Doug. You know, this probably has a wide range of answers, but do you have kind of indicative land lease rates for wind and solar, or a broad range where you could say you'd expect to be somewhere in this range?
Doug Gagne: I do not for wind. I have looked at this, anecdotally, at different sites, for solar. The land lease rates, I mean, it really depends on where you are. If you're looking at wind development in California, that's a totally different ballgame than the middle of Wyoming. So, it really depends on where you're located, and what the value of that land is for other development purposes. So if you're in, you know, San Bernardino or Riverside counties and that land might actually be developable for real estate or, you know, some other sort of economic use, you'll likely see a higher land lease rate. Than if that land really only has one purpose, which is wind development, and your neighbor and the neighbor next to you and the neighbor after that all have the same kind of land that would be good for a, you know, resource development.
So it's really gonna vary. I'll give you a really broad range, so that I'm not, you know, too far off either way. I've seen land lease rates as low as $200.00 per acre per year, and as high as a couple of thousand dollars per acre per year. So that's a pretty broad range, which is indicative of how much it varies throughout the US.
James Jensen: Great, thanks, Doug, that's interesting.
Doug Gagne: Sure.
James Jensen: Another question, also for Doug Gagne: Are there examples of growing biomass feedstock versus using it, you know, using a feedstock that's a waste product of other economic activities?
Doug Gagne: There are. You know, they're generally classified, at least in the tax law, as open-loop versus closed-loop biomass systems. I have not seen a whole lot of commercial closed-loop systems, where you grow your own feedstock and run the system on it. The ones that I have seen personally are more R&D precommercial early-stage stuff. There may be others that I'm not aware of. I've more generally seen the open-loop type where you receive waste streams be the more economic kind. I wouldn't speculate on why that is, though – I just don't know enough.
James Jensen: Interesting, thanks.
A question, here, for Roger, with the evolving technologies for extracting natural gas from the geology, are there tribes that are seeing, you know, new opportunities where maybe they'd considered developing a field in the past, but, you know, it wasn't economic, and now it might be? I'm not looking for specific examples, but is that kind of rejuvenating the marketplace or the space for natural gas exploration on tribal lands?
Roger Knight: Yes, we're doing a lot of that, we're looking at old fields. When people normally produce these under initial primary production, they only recover 20-25 percent of the oil, so there's still a lot of oil down there. And with an enhanced recover, you can increase that. So, we're going back in and doing some of our research, now that we have enough staff, is to actually review fields, old fields that may have been abandoned, old areas. _____ _____ down in Oklahoma and you have wells that have produced for over 100 years. Well, let's go back in and look at what they did, look at the production, and there could be infield drilling, enhanced recovery, flooding.
There's always the unconventional with horizontal that could help with some of the older wells and _____ _____. A lot of the older fields, people are able to go in and, with new technology, with new geophysics, and get a better picture of what is downhole, look at and drill infield wells _____ come out producing well. So, we are looking at that, and looking at other old leases that have had dry holes. Well, in those days, the price may have been low and they weren't economic, but nowadays, with the technology and prices and value-added, they could be economic now.
James Jensen: Interesting, so, are you doing that research on a proactive basis, or only when a tribe kind of requests it?
Roger Knight: Well, we only work when the tribe requests it, but with our relationship that we have with them, we talk to them about what their future, what their resource, what their vision is, and we'll talk to'em about what we wanna do. We do have an atlas of oil and gas properties, and we're updating it to give an overall view. Because what might not be economic today, let's look at the _____ up here north of town or up at the Bakken, people have known about those, but with the technology catching up, they finally are economic. So we're going back and trying to _____ _____ overall general view. And of course, we get the tribe's permission before we do anything, is we publish a publication for them, our atlas, for them to show anything that could be there in the future. So, we're working with several tribes in cooperation to look at this old fields.
James Jensen: Gotchya, great.
Well, with that, I don't see any other questions come in. So, I wanna thank all of our presenters, again, for their time and their excellent presentations. We're very interested in suggestions on how to strengthen the value of this training, so please send us any feedback that you have.
On our final slide, here, we have _____ _____ webinars in the 2019 series. The next webinar, Jobs and Economic Development in Tribal Energy Projects, will be held on June 26th, this year, obviously, at 11:00 AM. Just a note, all of our webinars – almost all of them – are on the last Wednesday of every month, at 11:00 AM Mountain Time, so just keep that spot on your calendar available.
Thank you, again, for your interest and attendance, and we look forward to you joining us on future webinars. This concludes our webinar for today. Good day.
Lizana Pierce: Thank you, James, thank you, Doug, thank you, Roger. Bye.
Doug Gagne: Thank you.
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