Team Wasaya
Team Wasaya
Snapshot
Team Wasaya

Team Wasaya

Selected

Cass Lake

Sustainable human, environmental, and community development that meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Awarded:: Seed Funds, TA Voucher, Participant

Team Information

Team Lead
Mike Myers
Team Lead LinkedIn Profile
View Profile
State
Minnesota

Project Description

Project / Program Description
  • We are taking a program development approach that is being led by Leech Lake Financial Services. Leech Lake Financial Services is a U.S. Treasury Department certified Native Community Development Financial Institution (NCDFI) serving a program area within a radius of 25 miles around the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Reservation and the City of Cass Lake, MN..
  • During the past two years Leech Lake Financial Services  has been identifying and working with individuals and entities who have significant contributions to make to developing a new paradigm for integrated reservation-wide development that has sustainable, affordable and energy efficient housing as one of the key factors.
  • We are participating in the commissioning and implementation of 200 Kwh of solar power for low income families. The first 40 Kwh solar garden was constructed at the Prescott Housing Site providing credits to 26 homes and the final 160 Kwh will be installed on tribal government buildings..
  • The program development we are undertaking will explore the feasibility and potential for deploying a mini-grid system across the entire reservation. To assist us in this effort we have assembled a team of 26 members composed of Tribal, city and state government agencies, financial institutions, energy and construction compnaies and housing experts.
Project Updates

Solar in Your Communities Q3 Progress Report

For Quarter 3 of 6: November 2017-January 2018

Team leads are expected to complete this scorecard on a quarterly basis to assist me (Claudia Pavel, your SYC coach) in tracking your team’s progress. I will be adding my own notes and forwarding this information to the DOE. Teams will also have access to their own progress reports, including my feedback on your progress, at the Solar in Your Communities website.

After completing this form, please modify your work plan as needed and send me a copy of that revised work plan.

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Coach Name:

Claudia Pavel     

505 795-4332

cjpavel@me.com

 

Team Name: Team Wasaya

Program Focused Team: A program led by a utility, state, tribe local governments, financial institution or other entity that incentivizes and/or enables the creation of the types of projects listed above. Programs should achieve at least 25kW-5,000kW (peak DC capacity) in solar installed within one year of the end of the period of performance.

Team Lead Name and contact info:

Mike Myers Tel: 218-766-6718   Email: skanon7@gmail.com

TEAM GOALS

  • Design a system that delivers direct benefits to the participants and integrates with existing utilities through PPAs or other agreements;
  • Identify appropriate technologies and their applications;
  • Develop a financing model for implementing a 1 MwH installation; and
  • Develop community buy-in through information sessions and formal deployment agreements

Site Selection, Zoning, and Permitting

Team's Site Selection, Zoning, and Permitting Goal in Work Plan:

  • Design a system that delivers direct benefits to the participants and integrates with existing utilities through PPAs or other agreements;

 Team's Site Selection, Zoning, and Permitting Plan for This Quarter:

At the end of the 18 month period there will be a plan in place to charter, license and permit a Tribal utility entity. That entity will be responsible for all of the above. Team Wasaya will have researched, documented and recommended the best course and practices for the entity to pursue in developing itself and its capacity.

Site Selection, Zoning, and Permitting Score (1-5):

        Score: 2

Site Selection, Zoning, and Permitting Comment: Please explain your score, your successes, setbacks, any issues the team is having, or other updates.

We have scored this a 2 because there have been three meetings with Tribal representatives to explain and discuss the goals and strategy of this effort. They are receptive to the idea of the Tribe developing zoning and permitting regulations. This is a good start and will be followed up on in the coming months.

Q3 (November 2017-January 2018):

 Customer Acquisition & Program Design

Team’s Customer Acquisition & Program Design Goal in Work Plan:

  • Develop community buy-in through information sessions and formal deployment agreements
  • Design a system that delivers direct benefits to the participants and integrates with existing utilities through PPAs or other agreements;

Team’s Customer Acquisition & Program Design Plan for This Quarter:

This requires two separate answers:

Program Design – we held very successful meetings with Institute for Local Self Reliance and Cooperative Energy Futures. Both organizations provided us with excellent information and understanding of how to move forward with our Program Design. Both will be future partners as we bring this effort to fruition.

Customer Acquisition – as can be seen in our Work Plan we have adjusted our time frame for Customer Acquisition. Now that we have chartered Wasaya Energy Coop there is an actual entity for people to join and become members.

               

Customer Acquisition & Program Design Score (1-5)

Scores:      Customer Acquisition: 4

                Program Design: 4

Customer Acquisition & Program Design Comment: Please explain your score, your successes, setbacks, any issues the team is having, or other updates.

Q3 November 2017 – January 2018:

With the creation of Wasaya Energy Cooperative we now have a formal corporation that will be the owner/operator of the system. We also now have an actual entity that we can promote and to which customers can become members. During Q4 we will be designing a presentation and enrollment materials that can be taken to community discussions

Financing

Team's Financing Goal in Work Plan:

Develop a financing model for implementing a 1 MwH installation

 

Team's Financing Plan for This Quarter:

We will be putting much more focus on financing in Q4. During this quarter we met with Midwest Minnesota Community Development Corporation (MMCDC) to learn how we can apply investment tax credits to underwriting system development.

Our meeting with Cooperative Energy Futures greatly assisted us in understanding the dynamic, pros and cons, and barriers to putting together a solid business plan.

Financing Score (1-5):

        Score: 4

Financing Comment: Please explain your score, your successes, setbacks, any issues the team is having, or other updates.

Q3 (November 2017-January 2018): The Team now has a more solid understanding of what it will take to put together a financing package for this effort. During Q4 we will begin developing the business plan.

Our Researcher, Ashley Locklear, has completed her research into Tribal regulatory options based on the ideas and model Mr. Farrell presented. Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe have a Utilities Code and it is clear they will need assistance in actualizing it.

LMI/Non-profit Participation

Team's LMI/Non-Profit Participation Goal in Work Plan:

  • Develop community buy-in through information sessions and formal deployment agreements

Estimated number of low and moderate income (LMI) households served*:  300+ (per our grant application)

Team's LMI/Non-Profit Participation Plan for This Quarter:

        Maximum LMI participation is a core principle of our overall effort.

LMI/Non-Profit Participation Score (1-5):

        Score: 5

LMI/Non-Profit Participation Comment: Please explain your score, your successes, setbacks, any issues the team is having, or other updates.

Q3 (November 2017-January 2018): From the outset all Team members have indicated their support of this core principle as a center piece of our efforts.

Our meetings with CEF and ILSR assisted us in understanding and planning for ensuring that we achieve maximum participation and benefit for LMI and Non-Profits. Each will become key members of Wasay Energy Coop.

Project Design & Installation

Team's Project Design & Installation Goal in Work Plan:

Design a system that delivers direct benefits to the participants and integrates with existing utilities through PPAs or other agreements.

Team's Project Design & Installation Plan for This Quarter:

        Identify best technologies and practices

        Plan for ownership/distribution of RECs

        Work/Coordinate with utility companies for connection and integration

Project Design & Installation Score (1-5)

        Score: 5

Project Design & Installation Comment: Please explain your score, your successes, setbacks, any issues the team is having, or other updates.

 Q3 (November 2017-January 2018:

We have identified the best possible system design for the 1 Megawatt system we are proposing. We’ve also learned that the best possible financial return for this investment is to partner with an organization in the Twin Cities that will give us access to the Xcel Energy benefits. Unfortunately, such benefits do not exist in the rural areas that are dominated by Cooperatives.

Project Development

Team's Project Development Goal in Work Plan:

Again, it needs to be restated that we are not a Project Focused effort, we are a Program Focused endeavor.

 

Team's Project Development Plan for This Quarter:

Project Development Score (1-5)

Project & Development Comment

Please explain your score, your successes, setbacks, any issues the team is having, or other updates.

Q2 (August 2017-October 2017):

Interconnection

Team's Interconnection Goal in Work Plan:

Design a system that delivers direct benefits to the participants and integrates with existing utilities through PPAs or other agreements

 

Team's Interconnection Plan for This Quarter:

Continuing discussions and fact finding with the five utility companies that serve the Territory.

 

Interconnection Score (1-5):

        Score: 4

Interconnection Comment: Please explain your score, your successes, setbacks, any issues the team is having, or other updates.

We give ourselves a score of 4 because of the learning we accomplished that is helping us to see more clearly what our system design and operations need to be. Our experience in engaging with Beltrami Electric Cooperative and Otter Tail Power has proven very valuable because of differences of working with a non-profit versus a for profit.

 

Long-term Management after Installation

Team's Long-term Management after Installation Goal in Work Plan:

  • Design a system that delivers direct benefits to the participants and integrates with existing utilities through PPAs or other agreements;

 Team's Long-term Management after Installation Plan for This Quarter

This issue will not be addressed until we have a system design in place that can be brought to the communities and refined to ensure:

Maximum LMI and non-profit participation;

Beneficiary ownership and management; and

Is tribally chartered and empowered.

Long-term Management after Installation Score (1-5):

        Score: 2

Long-term Management after Installation Comment: Please explain your score, your successes, setbacks, any issues the team is having, or other updates.

We give ourselves a score of 2 because this issue remains a priority but will not be addressed until the final stages of this effort, but we have opened communications with Cooperative Energy Futures due to their extensive experience in organizing green energy ownership potentials.

Other

Team's Goal in Work Plan for Other Task:

 

Team's Plan for This Quarter for Other Task :

Score of Other Task (1-5):

Other Task Comment 

Please explain your score, your successes, setbacks, any issues the team is having, or other updates.

Q1 (May 2017-July 2017):

August 2017:

 

Overall Status

Please choose one:

X Green - project is in good standing and we are likely to accomplish our goals

Yellow – there is a risk that we will not accomplish our goals

Red – we are unlikely to accomplish our goals

Overall Comment: Please explain your overall status, your successes, setbacks, any issues the team is having, or other updates you did not mention in previous comments.

Q3 November 2017-January 2018: We are very happy and satisfied with where we are at this juncture of the process. Word about this effort continues to spread and people are coming forth to offer their encouragement and assistance.

The connections we’ve made with ILSR and CEF are important ones. They provide us with access to people with tons of experience and expertise in solar development in Minnesota.

The creation of a framework plan (see Attachment 2) for our System Design is a major accomplishment in meeting two of our milestones:

  • Design a system that delivers direct benefits to the participants and integrates with existing utilities through PPAs or other agreements;
  • Identify appropriate technologies and their applications;
  • Over the next six months we see ourselves as being able to stay on target to having a finalized System Design and then finish out the remainder of project working with the Tribe, City of Cass Lake and local communities to achieve deployment.

Have you posted any photos or updates on your profile?

Yes

No but will be doing so in the coming quarters

If yes, is there anything you recommend DOE highlight in a success story? 

Has your team received any local media or social media attention?

Yes

No

If yes, please describe

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