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Renewable energy and efficiency

25 September 2010
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By Bruno Zagar, FDL Resource Management Division, Environmental Program

The Fond du Lac Reservation Business Committee has signed a Tribal Environmental Agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency to conduct building energy audits, conduct alternative energy site reviews and build a new LEED Energy Efficient Resource Management Building.  Fond du Lac Planning Department and the Resource Management Division is in the process of looking at energy efficient building code.  In addition the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Business Committee and its staff drafting a Tribal Resolution to the Kyoto Protocol Ratification pledging a renewable energy commitment to install 20% of electric power by renewable means by the year 2020.

The Fond du Lac Environmental Program, Resource Management Division and Reservation Business Committee has a commitment to energy efficiency and renewable energy resources.  Environmental Program staff in conjunction with other consultants has been conducting energy audits on commercial buildings to find ways of reducing dependency on fossil fuels.  With the help of Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College, Arrowhead Energy and Fond du Lac Housing Division we just started to conduct energy audits on rental housing units.

Fond du Lac has been involved in several a renewable energy feasibility studies on the Fond du Lac Reservation also.  As of October 1, 2010, two 50-meter wind speed monitoring stations have been in operation for four full years, the data is now being analyzed and a wind resource evaluation report is being prepared for the Tribe.  A wind speed monitoring station was moved to Brandon Road and HWY 2 to verify wind speed data from tower hill 2 miles southwest.  We are hopeful that the data produced will allow us to plan and install a wind turbine.  The report will characterize the quality of the wind resource to determine the location of a commercial wind energy venture.

A 3,150 watt solar electric system has been installed on the powwow arbor behind the Ojibwe School.  Starting in late September a 12,250 watt solar electric system will be installed on the new Resource Management Building.  Lighting upgrades and energy efficient upgrades are being included in budgets due to short term pay back with long term savings.  You can now call your gas or electric utility to have a free or low cost energy audit completed on your home which give you cost saving measures you could complete to lower fuel costs.

We are researching the potential for biomass heat and power also.  The feasibility study is designed to identify the best potential based on economic viability of fuel resources and application of the fuel resource to the energy loads.  The study began with a resource assessment determining the most reliable and economically viable fuels. Most importantly, the selection of energy conversion technology will be based on the fuel resources and customized to meet the demands of handling and transporting biomass or wood for fuel.

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