Forest County Potawatomi Tribe Project

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The Forest County Potawatomi Tribe's combined heat and power biomass facility will provide heating, cooling, and electricity for the Tribe's government buildings.
Credit: Dennis Jones

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The Forest County Potawatomi Tribe in Forest County, Wisconsin, is implementing an integrated renewable energy deployment plan that will provide heating, cooling, and electricity for the Tribe's government buildings. The U.S. Department of Energy provided $2.6 million in funding for this Community Renewable Energy Deployment (CommRE) project.

Combined Heat and Power Biomass Facility

The Forest County CommRE project will include installation of a combined heat and power (CHP) biomass facility that will provide heating and cooling for the Tribal government's Stone Lake campus, as well as produce approximately 1.25 megawatts of electrical energy.

Biomass Boiler Heating Systems

The same facility will also dry wood chips that can be used in the CHP facility's boiler, as well as biomass heating units for numerous Forest County Potawatomi Tribe reservation buildings.

Biogas Digester

The Forest County CommRE project will also include a biogas digester and 150-kilowatt (kW) generation unit. The unit will utilize the Tribe's organic solid waste from several sources, including Tribe-owned facilities; Tribal member homes; septic sewage and municipal solid waste from both Tribal lands and possibly from non-Tribal communities; and waste oil and grease from the Tribe's restaurants as well as the surrounding area.

Solar Photovoltaic Installation

Another component of the CommRE project is the installation of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels on the roof of the Forest County Potawatomi Community Administration Building in downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The PV panels will be installed on a double-stacked awning on the south wall of the building. When complete, the system will generate 18 to 30 kW of electricity, which will be purchased by a local utility or other third party through an offtake agreement.

Environmental and Economic Benefits

By turning low-value wood and waste material into green energy and coal-replacement biomass fuel, the Forest County Potawatomi Tribe CommRE project is estimated to reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions by 20,000 tons. The project will also preserve and increase forestry and other industry jobs in the area.