Yurok Wind and Hydro Feasibility Study

SERC and Yurok Staff Raise a 50m Wind Monitoring Tower

SERC and Yurok Staff Raise a 50m Wind Monitoring Tower (Photo credit SERC).

SERC has been working with Austin Nova and others at the Yurok Tribe to assess the feasibility of developing wind and hydroelectric energy resources on the Yurok Reservation. In the fall of 2008 we installed stream gauging stations on Pecwan and Ke’Pel creeks, and in September of 2009 we installed a 50 meter wind monitoring tower atop the McKinnon Hill ridge. Since then we have collected a substantial amount of wind and hydro data, and we are now prepared to begin analysis of these data to see if energy development projects are feasible.

Colin Sheppard will be analyzing the wind speed data to determine its energy production potential. This will include choosing potential wind turbines and modeling the energy output from these turbines. If possible, we will attempt to correlate the data we have collected with longer term data records at nearby sites (like School House Peak) to improve the confidence in our results. We will also assess the cost to install and operate a wind energy system and determine the economic feasibility of such a project.

On the hydroelectric side of things we recently hired Kevin Jensen, an Environmental Resources Engineering senior at Humboldt State University, to analyze the stream flow data we have collected. Kevin’s work will include an assessment of expected stream flow throughout the year. As with the wind data, we will attempt to correlate the data we have collected with longer term stream flow and precipitation records in an attempt to arrive at a more certain estimate of actual energy production potential. We will develop a preliminary design and cost estimate for installation of a run-of-river hydroelectric generator, and based on the estimated cost and energy production potential, we will determine project feasibility.

We expect the results will be complete later this year, so watch our future newsletters for the outcome of this project.

About Jim Zoellick

James is a Senior Research Engineer at SERC. He has a B.S. Degree in Environmental Resources Engineering from Humboldt State University, and has worked professionally in the energy field since 1990. Since 1995 he has been a project manager at SERC and has been involved in the design, development, installation, and start-up of electrolytic hydrogen generation systems, hydrogen vehicle fueling stations, hydrogen fuel cell power systems, and solar electric power systems. Mr. Zoellick was the project manager and lead designer for both the Schatz Hydrogen Generation Center and the Zweig Education Building Fuel Cell System at SunLine Transit . Mr. Zoellick's additional work at SERC has included the development and demonstration of hydrogen fuel cell systems for real world applications, including vehicles and stationary, portable and remote power systems. Mr. Zoellick has also been involved in the design, installation, testing and modeling of photovoltaic energy systems, including the design and installation of a 2 kW AC grid-intertied system at the Campus Center for Appropriate Technology. Mr. Zoellick has taught several college level energy courses. He is the current chairman for the City of Arcata Energy Committee.