Yurok Energy Upgrade Complete

Yurok PV Array

Project Manager Jim Zoellick checks the shading profile for the Weitchpec solar electric array. (Photo credit SERC.)

The Yurok Tribe recently completed energy upgrades at their Klamath and Weitchpec Tribal offices. This included the installation of a 15.7 kW AC solar electric array in Weitchpec and energy efficiency upgrades at both locations. As reported in our Fall 2011 newsletter, SERC provided the Tribe with technical support for the project. This included services from start to finish.

Initially, SERC helped the Tribe secure American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding for the project and worked with the Tribe to define the scope of project activities. In addition to ARRA funding, SERC helped the Tribe secure a rebate from the California Solar Initiative program. This offset part of the cost of the solar electric system.

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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.

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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.

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SERC Raises Wind Monitoring Tower with the Yurok Tribe

SERC and Yurok Staff Raise a 50m Wind Monitoring Tower

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

SERC staff and Yurok Tribe members recently raised a 50-meter meteorological tower atop McKinnon Hill on the Yurok Reservation. The tower will be used to collect wind data for one year, and SERC will use the data to conduct a wind energy feasibility analysis for the Tribe. At left, SERC engineers Richard Engel and Chris Carlsen work with Yurok planner Austin Nova to raise the gin pole. At right, the tower raising team celebrates their accomplishment. From left are Roger Gibbons, Richard Engel, Austin Nova, Chris Carlsen, Colin Sheppard, Victor, Jim Zoellick, and Ray Daniels (Six Rivers Communications).

Yurok Wind and Hydro Feasibility Study Update

Yurok Stream Flow Monitoring

HSU graduate student Jenny Tracy and Yurok Tribe Planner Austin Nova measure stream flow at Pecwan Creek. (Photo credit SERC).

SERC is working with the Yurok Tribe to examine the feasibility of developing hydro and wind power resources on the Yurok Reservation. SERC and Yurok Tribe staff recently installed gauging stations on Ke’Pel and Pecwan Creeks. These stations provide continuous monitoring of stream elevation. Periodically we visit the sites and measure stream flow. We will use this information to develop stage-discharge curves for the two creeks. The stage-discharge curves will allow us to convert the continuous stream elevation data into flow data. We are also installing rain gauges at each site. We plan to use precipitation data to help us correlate the data for these two streams with other streams in the area for which there are long-term stream flow and precipitation data records.

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Yurok Wind & Hydro Study

Cappell Creek stream mointoring station installation

SERC engineers Mark Rocheleau and Richard Engel work with Tribal Planner Austin Nova to install a stream gauging station on Cappell Creek. (Photo credit SERC).

SERC has been assisting the Yurok nation with energy related projects since 1999. Our current collaboration is to examine the feasibility of developing hydroelectric and wind power resources on the Yurok Reservation. To date, three project sites have and data monitoring equipment is being installed. We will be monitoring stream flows on both Cappell and Pecwan Creeks, and wind speeds on McKinnon Hill. We are currently working with the Tribe to install stream gauging stations on the two creeks. We are also awaiting arrival of a 50-meter meteorological tower from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory that we will install on McKinnon Hill. We plan to have all three data collection systems up and running by the end of the year. We will collect data for a one-year period and will assess the data and determine the feasibility of installing energy generation equipment at these sites. Our work will include life cycle economic analyses; preliminary economic assessments; and the development of business, financing, and project development plans. Watch our future newsletters for project updates.

SERC to Assist Yurok Tribe with Wind and Hydro Study

Jenny and Austin taking stream measurements

SERC's Jenny Tracy (left) and Yurok Tribe's Austin Nova (right) taking stream measurements (Photo Credit Kellie Brown)

After working with the Yurok Tribe for the last few years on energy education and planning projects, we are excited to be conducting a detailed feasibility study that we hope will result in the installation of renewable energy hardware on the Yurok Reservation.

In a recently completed study for the Tribe (SERC Energy News, Fall 2006), SERC identified hydro and wind energy as two of the most promising renewable energy resources on the Reservation. SERC is now embarking on a new DOE-funded feasibility study to analyze opportunities for the development of these resources. Our study will equip the Tribe to move forward with project development if any of the project opportunities look favorable.

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Outreach on the Klamath

kids creating solar circuits

Students use small PV panels to create solar buzzers. (Photo Credit SERC)

This past spring, SERC visited three elementary schools on the Yurok Reservation: Weitchpec Elementary, Margaret Keating School, and Jack Norton School. The goal was to inspire and teach Yurok youth about basic energy concepts, renewable energy technologies, and energy efficiency. The events were part of a community-wide energy education campaign for SERC’s “Human Capacity Building in Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy” project with the Yurok Tribe.

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Sustainable Energy for the Yurok Nation

Yurok Energy Efficiency Training Week

SERC engineer Jim Zoellick explains solar hot water and solar electric technologies to Yurok tribe members participating in an intensive two week course on energy. (Photo Credit SERC)

The Yurok Tribe, whose remote homeland stretches from the seashore to the inland mountains of northwest California, are close neighbors of SERC. We have worked with the Yurok on a number of occasions, helping them to power a telecommunications repeater station with a SERC fuel cell and build an off-grid residential solar power system to provide tribal elders with reliable electricity. Communities located on the mountainous Yurok Reservation are among the last few in California that have never been connected to the statewide electric power grid…and are also some of the poorest in the state. This situation results in a population with special energy needs.

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Teaming with Local Government for Sustainable Energy

Energy Efficiency Training with Yurok Tribe

SERC Engineer Richard Engel and Graduate Research Associate Stephen Kullmann complete energy efficiency training with members of the Yurok Tribe (Photo Credit SERC).

In a December 2002 planning retreat, SERC staff agreed we wanted to do more to contribute to the betterment of our local community. We have made good on that resolution through a number of initiatives. Many of these projects have been in support of Humboldt County’s regional energy office, the Redwood Coast Energy Authority (RCEA). The RCEA is a joint powers association that was created “to develop and implement sustainable energy initiatives that reduce energy demand, increase energy efficiency, and advance the use of clean, efficient and renewable resources available in the region.”

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