The Forest County Potowatomi Tribe's solar system is providing heating, cooling, and electricity to the Tribe's administration building in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Photo from the Forest County Potowatomi Tribe.
Challenge: Since adopting its environmental mission statement in November 2008, the Forest County Potawatomi Community has assumed a leadership role in creating a sustainable and healthy world.
In pursuit of its long-term energy goal of reducing its carbon footprint to zero, the Tribe adopted an integrated renewable energy deployment plan that includes the installation of solar, biogas, and biomass energy systems to heat, cool, and power its tribal facilities. The Tribe strives to use locally produced materials and local contractors whenever possible.
Solution: In October 2011, thanks to partial funding by a $2.6 million DOE Community Renewable Energy Deployment grant through the Recovery Act, the Tribe installed a 30-kilowatt (kW) solar PV system on the roof of its administration building in Milwaukee. Installed by a Milwaukee-based contractor, the system features locally manufactured panels.
The next phase of the project will include construction of a 2-MW anaerobic digester and biogas generation facility in Milwaukee that will produce renewable electricity for sale to the local utility and heat for use by nearby facilities. The digester facility, which will be completed in May 2013, will convert high-strength waste from local food processing facilities into biogas, which will fuel two Wisconsin-built GE Waukesha engines.
Benefits: The rooftop PV system will produce approximately 35,000 kilowatt-hours of clean electricity annually, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by an estimated 41 tons per year. In addition to reducing the Tribe’s annual greenhouse gas and other emissions, renewable energy projects are helping preserve and increase local jobs for tribal members and others.
“The Potawatomi are excited to reach another milestone toward our long-standing goal of reducing our energy use and carbon footprint. We are fortunate that there are companies and organizations right here in Wisconsin that helped make this project happen.”
—Forest County Potawatomi Attorney General Jeff Crawford
To learn more about the Forest County Potawatomi Tribe Recovery Act project, visit the DOE Community Renewable Energy Deployment website.