SERC is playing a key role in helping the Yurok Tribe of northern California add renewable energy generation and energy efficiency improvements to their Tribal office buildings. As we reported in our fall 2010 newsletter, the Tribe is installing a solar electric system on their Weitchpec office and implementing energy efficiency upgrades in the Weitchpec building as well as their Klamath office. Measures include air sealing and improved lighting and HVAC controls.
SERC’s ongoing effort to help the Yurok Tribe develop a Tribal energy program has recently been strengthened by a new collaboration with engineering students and faculty at Humboldt State University (HSU). The students, enrolled in Dr. Eileen Cashman and Dr. Arne Jacobson’s capstone engineering design course for graduating seniors, are investigating options for hydropower development on the Yurok Reservation’s many creeks. The class is learning how to operate within numerous technical, economic, environmental, and cultural constraints. The Tribe is eager to make greater use of on-Reservation energy resources but is also wary of potential impacts on fisheries or Yurok sacred and ceremonial sites.