Turtle Mountain College, North Dakota
The Turtle Mountain Community College (TMCC) in Belcourt, N.D., a tribal
college that serves the Ojibwa Indians of the northern plains, announced
that it would install a Vestas V-47 660-kW wind turbine.
The installation completes a 3-year plan to make TMCC completely energy self-sufficient.
The spectacular 109,000-square-foot college building is designed around the concept of the Four Directions and the Seven Teachings of the Ojibwa. The building is entirely heated and cooled with geothermal energy. When the college erects its new wind turbine, the college will be a net exporter of electricity. The annual average energy consumptionfor TMCC is more than 2.6 million kWh.
The wind turbine is expected to produce more than 3 million kwh per year. TMCC is expecting to save more than $84,000 annually on its electricity bills. The excess power generated from the turbine will be sold to the local utility company at a profit.
"The wind energy that's captured will supply power for our geothermal system, making it fully operational on its own," explained Dr. Carty Monette, TMCC president. "We designed it this way because fuel is very expensive in North Dakota and we wanted to save money. The end result is that we should be completely independent of fossil fuels by next year, and that's a big deal economically and culturally."
Monette has designated the Foundation for the American Indian (FAI) as co-project manager for the project. FAI will provide technical assistance and provide project management, assist in the installation and commissioning of the wind turbine, and assist the College in negotiating power purchase agreements and interconnect agreements for the project. FAI is donating staff time toward the successful completion of this project.
FAI will also assist the TMCC in identifying potential retail green tag customers. These green tag sales could generate an additional $75,000 each year. FAI will also help in identifying additional sources of project funding, and in building an observation deck for the wind turbine, where the College will educate visitors about the technical attributes and environmental benefits of the wind turbine as a renewable
The project will be the first on an Indian college campus in the U.S., and the first utility-scale wind turbine installation on any college campus in the U.S. Monette says that Turtle Mountain may also be the first college in the nation that runs completely on renewable energy. Tom Carbone, vice-president of sales and marketing of Vestas-American, said, "We recognize the tremendous opportunity and benefits of wind power in Native American communities. Wind power supplies affordable, inexpensive energy to the local economy. It also provides jobs and other sources of income without causing pollution, generating hazardous wastes, or depleting natural resources. Vestas believes in building long-term relationships and is looking forward to working closely with the Foundation for the American Indian and the Turtle Mountain Chippewa Community."
In 1999 and 2000, the U.S. Congress appropriated $571,000 for the design, purchase, construction, and implementation of the project.
For further information, contact
Carty Monette, TMCC president, (701) 477-7862
Joseph Brignolo, FAI program development director, (513) 899-9152
Joan Andrews, president of the Foundation for the
American Indian, phone (203) 629-9030.