Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation
PO Box 638, Pendleton, Oregon, 97801
Phone: 541-276-3165, FAX: 541-276-3095
Columbia Energy Partners
PO Box 1000, La Center, WA 98629
Phone: 360-263-1000 Fax: 360-263-1001
For Immediate Release: Dec.
Contact: Bruce Zimmerman, 541-966-2103; Debra Croswell, 541-966-2033
Chris Crowley, 360-263-1000
The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation and Columbia Energy Partners have joined forces to build a 104 megawatt wind power project near the city of Arlington in northeastern Oregon.
Under a partnership agreement being developed, the CTUIR will invest in the project and participate in a development loan with the Oregon Department of Energy in exchange for an ownership stake in Columbia Energy Partners' proposed project.
The Tribe plans to redirect some of its investment dollars into the wind project. "The Board of Trustees looked at the returns it had received over the years on Tribal investments. Given the higher returns likely from this project, the Board expects to shift its investment dollars in order to earn higher returns," said CTUIR Treasurer Les Minthorn.
"With higher returns on our investments, we'll be able to eventually fund more Tribal programs and operations," Minthorn added.
Chris Crowley, president of Columbia Energy Partners, invited the Confederated Tribes to help develop the Arlington wind-turbine project that is expected to cost $130 million. The project is permitted and planned to generate as much as 104 megawatts of electricity.
"We always envisioned we would have partners for our wind projects because partnerships make a stronger team for the hard work these projects require," said Crowley.
The CTUIR Trustees and staff bring a great deal to the table to help make this project succeed. We think it is a model we will repeat on more projects in the future. We are very pleased to be working with CTUIR and look forward to bringing the Arlington project on line next year," Crowley said.
Columbia Energy Partners already is developing a 5 megawatt project that will make Arlington the first city in the United States to receive all its energy from wind power during certain months of the year.
Before entering the partnership, the CTUIR and CEP worked with National Renewable Energy Lab to analyze wind data collected over two years at the site, which found ample wind speeds that averaged 14-15 mph over 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," said Don Sampson, CTUIR Executive Director.
"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. This project is a win-win for the tribe, the environment, and our northwest economy," he said.
Columbia Energy Partners, based in La Center, Wash., is an independent developer of wind power projects in Washington and Oregon. The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation is a tribal government located just east of Pendleton, Ore.