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North Van's Tsleil-Waututh Nation builds two wind turbines in Minnesota
North Vancouver's Tsleil-Waututh Nation has stepped up business with two new wind power projects at White Earth Nation in northwest Minnesota.
Even though there are hundreds of 3120-series wind turbines in North America and the U.K., this is the first installation at an aboriginal community in the United States.
The 42-metre-tall turbines are shorter than those typically seen on mountains, including the one on top of Grouse Mountain, which is 65 metres tall.
The two sites in Minnesota - one at Ojibwa Building Supplies in Waubun and the other at White Earth Community Center in Naytahwaush - are up an running.
"Nation-to-nation success in Indian Country is what we're striving for, while helping the communities achieve their energy goals," said Marc Soulliere, president of TWN Wind Power.
TWN Wind Power also built a 36-metre-tall turbine in November 2011 at Lower Similkameen Indian Band School in the South Okanagan. It generates electricity for the school and is used to educate students and community members.
"There really isn't another good option for small wind from other tribally-owned businesses," said Soulliere, "and tribes in the U.S. definitely like to work with other tribes if they can."
The company is now looking into projects in B.C., Nova Scotia, Ontario, Oklahoma, California and another in Minnesota. Only certain sites will work because wind must be at least 15 kilometres and hour on average in order to generate enough power.
"Ours are designed for more community scale," explained Soulliere. "Usually this kind of turbine is connected to a local buildings like a business or school and it offsets the power of that particular building."
Larger turbines, on the other hand, are a different industry and often involve wind farms, he added.