American Indian tribes join with Columbia Energy Partners to build the 104-megawatt project

The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla join private venture

The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla say they will join a private venture to build a wind farm near Arlington that can provide electricity to about 300,000 homes. The tribes will join with Columbia Energy Partners to build the 104-megawatt project. The tribes will invest in the project and participate in a development loan with the Oregon Department of Energy in exchange for partial ownership. The tribe plans to redirect money into the wind project.

"The board of trustees looked at the returns it had received over the years on tribal investments," tribal Treasurer Les Minthorn said. "Given the higher returns likely from this project, the board expects to shift its investment dollars in order to earn higher returns. With higher returns on our investments, we'll be able to eventually fund more tribal programs and operations."

The company invited the tribes to help develop the proposed $130 million project. Before entering the partnership, the tribes and Columbia Energy Partners worked with National Renewable Energy Lab to analyze wind data collected during two years at the site. It showed average wind speeds of 14-15 mph during a 15-month period. "The tribes have long been advocates for diversifying the Northwest's energy portfolio and developing cost-effective renewables such as wind," tribal Executive Director Don Sampson said. "The Umatilla tribe is in a position to help reduce our reliance on hydroelectric power, which has impacted Columbia River salmon. At the same time, we are promoting the economic benefits of renewable energy in the Columbia Basin."
Online editorial www.windfair.net
Trevor Sievert, Online Editorial Journalist
USA, Umatilla, wind energy, wind turbine, wind power, wind farm, offshore, onshore

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