Working with the Yurok Tribe on Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Evaluating Yurok PV Installation

Jim Zoellick takes measures the shading (using a solar pathfinder) on a PV array on a Yurok Tribal office building. (Photo credit SERC).

The Schatz Lab has a long-standing relationship working with the Yurok Tribe on energy projects. Starting in 1999, we installed a fuel cell power system at School House Peak that powered their cell phone repeater station. Since then we have installed a residential off-grid solar electric system and conducted energy planning and needs assessment work.

Currently we are conducting a feasibility study to examine the potential for wind- and hydro-electric energy generation on the Reservation. We have been collecting stream flow data on Pecwan and Ke’Pel Creeks for about two years, as well as wind speed data on McKinnon Hill for the past year. We are now analyzing the data, determining the energy generation potential, estimating project costs and potential revenues, and conducting life-cycle economic assessments. The final results of this study are due early next year.

We are also currently working with the Yurok Tribe on energy efficiency and solar electric improvements for their Tribal offices in both Weitchpec and Klamath. We have developed a preliminary design for a 13.6 kW_AC solar electric system for the Weitchpec office, applied for their California Solar Initiative Rebate, and are assisting them with securing a contractor who can install the system. We will also develop education and outreach materials and train Tribal staff. On the energy efficiency side of things, we are assisting the Tribe with hiring a contractor to perform a retro-commissioning of the Klamath office. This systematic, documented process will identify low-cost operational and maintenance improvements that can help bring the building’s energy performance up to its original design intentions. We will also work with the Tribe to help them implement energy efficiency recommendations from both the retro-commissioning and from energy audits that we previously performed on their Tribal offices.

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.