Confederated Tribes of the Colville, a Native American tribe in northeastern Washington, is partnering with Clipper Windpower, a California company, to explore the potential for wind energy. Last July, Clipper placed three wind gauges on the Colville reservation. The wind testing is supposed to continue until about midyear.
If studies prove the wind blows hard enough and often enough there, Clipper will build a wind farm with up to 500 turbines. This would be a big boost to the local economy, as it is predicted that a wind farm of that size could create 50 to 200 temporary jobs during construction, then 10 to 20 permanent jobs to operate and maintain the wind turbines. Eventually, the tribes would own all or part of the wind farm, which is positive from a tribal ownership perspective.
This proposal to Colville is the company's first in a new focus to explore American Indian tribal lands for wind potential nationwide. Hopefully,this project will be successful so that wind opportunities for the tribes continue to grow.