Strategic Energy Plan
The Fond du Lac Band is one of six Chippewa Indian Bands that make up the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe. The Fond du Lac Reservation was established by the La Pointe Treaty of 1854. Today, our Band includes over 4,200 members. The Ojibwe name for the Fond du Lac Reservation is “Nagaajiwanaang” [“Where the Flow of the River Stops”].
This page shares our journey for “Ganawenimang Gimaamaaminaan awe Aki” [“Taking Care of Our Mother Earth”] and fulfilling a strategic vision centered on community vitality, self-reliance, and sustainable reservation development.
The Fond du Lac Band believes that its Energy Vision should go hand-in-hand with other objectives like economic development, job creation, and cultural values. In support of its long-term strategic energy planning effort, as well as its overall mission, the Band has adopted the following Energy Vision:
The Energy Vision of the Band is to maximize the efficiency of energy usage and develop energy resources in ways that will sustain current and future generations by addressing the economic, environmental, and social issues of energy within the context of Fond du Lac Band’s culture, traditions and established tribal policies for the wise use of our sun, forest, water, and wind resources.
The Fond du Lac Band has identified three options to achieve these goals: energy efficiency options, energy generation options and institutional and administrative options. Use the tabs below to read about the different accomplishments of the Fond du Lac strategic energy plan.
The Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa (Band) is pleased to present its Energy Vision & Profile. On this page, we will take a closer look into the Band’s accomplishments in energy efficiency and conservation, energy generation, and sustainable economic development. We also preview the Band’s future projects and next steps toward achieving its energy vision.
Energy conservation is essential to preserve and protect the Fond du Lac Reservation and the Band’s ceded territories. The Band continues to lead the region in energy efforts, as we strive to remain the caretakers of Mother Earth.
Kevin R. Dupuis, Sr.
Fond du Lac Chairman
Adoption of the Kyoto Protocol - the Fond du Lac Reservation Business Committee deemed it to be the moral responsibility of every sovereign nation on earth to uphold the spirit of the Kyoto Protocol and therefore pledged that it shall work to obtain 20% of the electricity from renewable energy resources.
Adopted an energy vision to maximize the efficiency of energy usage and develop energy resources in ways that will sustain current and future generations by addressing the economic, environmental, and social issues of energy within the context of the Fond du Lac Band’s culture, traditions and established tribal policies for the wise use of our sun, forest, water, and wind resources.
50% reduction in fossil fuels and 80% reduction in carbon emissions through renewable energy, energy efficiency and carbon sequestration from Fond du Lac Reservation forests.
Improvements to community vitality and self reliance through food sovereignty initiatives and activities that promote overall health and well-being.
Midwest Regional leadership and education for sustainable energy and economic development, including:
Energy Efficiency & Conservation
The Fond du Lac Band’s Environmental Program has advocated to reduce their carbon footprint by using the energy conservation approach on tribally owned buildings.
25 energy efficient homes with Minnesota Power under the Triple E New Construction Program. Triple E New Construction homes average a 25% reduction in space heating costs.
Resource Management Building
Resource Management Division constructed the first LEED building in Carlton County. The building has offset its energy use by installing a 12-kW solar system, employed passive lighting, and solar reflective tubes for interior lighting.
Partnered with Minnesota Power to conduct energy audits on tribally owned buildings. LED and high bay light retrofits resulted in 15% reduction in energy use.
Energy Savings Performance Contract
The Environmental Program partnered with Noresco, a qualified energy service company, to perform an investment grade audit on tribally owned buildings.
Twenty four buildings were identified with the greatest need for energy conservative measures. The energy conservative measures included water, interior/exterior lighting, boilers, controls, and air handling units.
Noresco Savings Breakdown:
- The total annual savings equates to $772,403.
- That means the Fond du Lac Band will save approximately $64,366 per month.
- The total payback of the project is 6.1 years.
- The project alone can account for up to 24% energy savings.
Total Annual Savings:
Savings Per Month:
Energy Generation & Management
Striving to maximize the efficiency of energy usage and develop energy resources that will sustain current and future generations.
Black Bear Casino Resort Solar Array
Black Bear Casino Resort 1 MW, 5 acre solar array went online August 22, 2016. Utilizing 3,230 solar panels, the solar field has offset Black Bear Casino’s total energy use by about 10%.
First year energy production totals exceeded 1.2 GWh of energy.
First midwest project installed using smart inverter technology as a control measure.
The solar site has saved Black Bear Casino Resort approximately $320,000.
Reduces 743 tons of CO2 on average per year by reducing the use of electricity from the incumbent utility
Sawyer Community Center District Heating project, commissioned:
- 1.7 MMbtu biomass boiler.
- 138 tons of wood chips replace over 13,000 gallons of propane annually.
- Award winning, fully automated design with in-floor wood chip air drying system.
Offsetting the use of 13,000 gallons of propane annually reduces 85 tons of CO2 on average per year.
|Energy and Cost Savings
Approximately $22,000 annual fuel cost savings.
The Fond du Lac Environmental Program developed strategies to bring renewable energy to residential properties that are located inside the reservation borders.
To date 5-residential solar electrical and 7-solar hot air systems have been installed.
Out of the 5 solar electrical systems, 4 systems are 3kW total energy offset systems.
The 5th system is unique because it’s a 1.5kW DC system that feeds a domestic hot water tank.
The Fond du Lac Band owns and manages a total of 9 MW of energy generation assets.
Fond du Lac Propane was started to bring affordable, quality service to customers.
Fond du Lac Band participated in the Minnesota B3 Benchmarking Program to determine energy consumption and baseline.
Chartered Tribal Utility.
Sustainable Economic Development
The Fond du Lac Band is continuously envisioning strategies in which we can build community vitality, empower self-sufficiency and drive sustainable economic development in ways that align with our culture, our traditions and our Mother Earth.
Electric Vehicle Charging Stations
- 2 charging stations at Black Bear Casino Resort with plans for future expansion.
- 1 charging station at the “Min no aya win” [“state of well-being”] clinic.
- 1 charging station at the administration building.
- Fond du Lac Transit provides on-demand and fixed route transportation for Band members in the region. This program not only improves access and mobility for the community, but also helps reduce CO2 emissions. In 2019 alone, Fond du Lac Transit reduced CO2 emissions by approximately 139 tons.
Forest Carbon Sequestration
Project partnership with the National Indian Carbon Coalition.
The National Indian Carbon Coalition partners with tribes to verify forest data inventory, determine carbon dioxide sequestration levels and develop forest carbon sequestration projects that generate revenue while preserving the forest and reducing carbon dioxide.
As We Look Ahead
Fond du Lac Utility/Microgrid/Net Zero Buildings
The Fond du Lac Band is developing energy infrastructure to promote tribal development and stabilize energy costs with a reliable and resilient power grid, renewable energy generation and back-up power for community resilience.
Future plans for expansion of electric vehicle fleets, public transportation, charging stations.
Community solar garden to provide utility offset.
Biomass District Heating Facility
A new woody biomass heating facility will serve the Brookston Community Center and 54 homes.
Ganawenimang Gimaamaaminaan awe Aki - Taking Care of Our Mother Earth - a brochure created to share our journey for Ganawenimang Gimaamaaminaan awe Aki and fulfilling a strategic vision centered on community vitality, self-reliance, and sustainable reservation development.