Utes Plan to Develop 1,000 MW Gas-Fired Power Plant on the Reservation

Ute Indian Tribe Release
5/30/14

The Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah and Ouray Reservation, Utah, has announced its plan to undertake the development of a 1,000-megawatt natural gas-fired generation facility on the Uintah and Ouray Reservation.

Such a facility will enable the tribe to utilize its vast amount of land and energy resources that contain enormous potential for electricity, transmission, renewables and natural gas related projects. Development of this project represents an exceptionally valuable opportunity for the tribe to utilize its natural gas resources to fuel power generation on the reservation for the benefit of tribal members and the surrounding community. At this time, the tribe is examining its energy infrastructure on the Reservation to develop a comprehensive plan for moving forward with this generation facility.

The generation facility would utilize the tribe’s large reserves of natural gas. It will also create opportunities to introduce more sources of clean energy into the grid.

“The Business Committee encourages and supports the development of the tribe’s resources in a manner that will provide long-term and sustained benefits to the tribe so that our members can look forward to a clean energy future,” explained Ronald Wopsock, the Vice-Chairman of the Ute Tribal Business Committee and a member of the steering committee established by the tribe to oversee the project.  “Not only will this project advance energy independence for the tribe and the United States as a whole, it will also utilize the most advanced emission controls available, making it one of the cleanest natural gas-fired power plants in the United States. As a result, the project will serve as a source of clean energy to replace outdated coal fired power plants, such as the Bonanza Plant in the Uintah Basin, which have caused significant damage to the local environment,” the Vice-Chairman said.

Development of the project will provide significant benefits for the tribe and local economy. According to Southern California Telephone and Energy, a development firm retained by the tribe to assist with planning of the project, the plant is expected to generate up to 1,000 MW, which would serve to provide power for 850,000 homes annually.

Development will also create up to 950 jobs at the peak of construction. In addition, the project is expected to contribute hundreds of millions of dollars directly to the area’s economy during the first 10 years of operation and will create indirect job opportunities in the development of pipelines, distribution systems and transmission infrastructure serving the project.

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