First wind turbine on Umatilla tribal land dedicated

First wind turbine on Umatilla tribal land dedicated
A 50-kilowatt wind turbine, the first on the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, was officially dedicated Thursday. The turbine will provide about 20 percent of the electricity for the Tamástslikt Cultural Institute, a museum east of Pendleton.
ENERGY TRUST OF OREGON NEWS RELEASE -- Today the Tamástslikt Cultural Institute dedicated its new 50-kilowatt Endurance E-3120 wind turbine, the latest step on Tamástslikt’s path toward creating a net-zero building. Net-zero energy is achieved when energy efficiency and onsite renewable energy generation equal a building’s energy needs over one year.

Over the last decade, Tamástslikt — a nonprofit interpretive center and museum located on the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation in Eastern Oregon — has implemented dramatic energy-saving improvements that have reduced electricity and natural gas usage by 63 percent and 76 percent, respectively, and saved nearly $750,000 in energy costs to date.

“Our approach has always been to do energy conservation first, then implement renewable energy projects,” said Jess Nowland, assistant facilities manager, Tamástslikt. “Reduce the use, renew the rest.”

The new turbine — the first of its kind in Oregon and the only wind turbine on a reservation in the Pacific Northwest — is expected to produce more than 94,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity annually, or about 20 percent of the green building’s already diminished electricity demand. Tamástslikt estimates that this will add up to approximately $480,000 in energy savings over 30 years.

The wind turbine was made possible by a $170,992 cash incentive from Energy Trust of Oregon and up to $257,372 through a funding award from customers of Pacific Power’s Blue SkySM renewable energy program. About 51,000 Pacific Power customers currently participate in the voluntary Blue Sky program across Oregon, Washington and California.

“The project sets a great example for the community by making a visible commitment to renewable energy, increasing awareness about the region’s developing wind resource and reducing Tamástslikt’s operating costs,” said Bill Clemens, regional community manager, Pacific Power. “This will be one of the first things visitors will see when they come from the east. It’s a great compliment to the community and our Blue Sky customers, who helped make it possible.”

Ceremony guests viewed a demonstration of the turbine’s control panel from the electrician who installed the turbine, Energy Trust trade ally Jonathan Lewis of Hire Electric, and were among the first to see the new energy information kiosk displaying real-time wind turbine generation. The turbine is a valuable educational tool for Tamástslikt visitors, especially for the school children who often visit to learn about tribal culture and values.

“By harnessing wind energy, the Tamástslikt Cultural Institute and the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla continue their investment and commitment to conservation and sustainability,” said Thad Roth, renewable energy sector lead, Energy Trust. “We are proud to be a part of the team, offering incentives, technical assistance and connections to local contractors, to support the vision of a net-zero facility meeting the needs of tribal members and visitors.”