On Wednesday, February 10, Senior Planner for the Quinault Indian Nation Kelsey Moldenke spoke at the CleanTech Alliance Breakfast Series, sponsored by Perkins Coie.
Kelsey spoke about the need to relocate the oceanside town of Taholah due to the risk of inundation from tsunamis or from rising sea levels due to climate change. In addition to flooding, the town also faces challenges such as ocean acidification impacting shellfish farming and salmon runs disappearing when rivers dry up. Landslides also pose a risk to the town and in the event of a tsunami, it’s estimated that the 40-50 foot waves would destroy the entire town, meaning that relocating the town up the hill was the only option.
Kelsey made sure to gather extensive community input from the tribe, surveying people both in-person and online to make sure they were involved in the process.
Kelsey’s vision is for a 1MW solar microgrid in an energy park to keep the energy both local and green. He thinks that a mixture of both biomass and solar will be needed to make Taholah energy independent and resilient to natural disasters that threaten their power supply.
Kelsey is also excited about the potential for workforce development and growing skills within the tribe such as solar and microgrid installation and maintenance.
While there are still many obstacles that Taholah needs to overcome to achieve energy independence, there are lots of innovative solutions that will help the Quinault Indian Nation to thrive.
To watch a full recording of the presentation, click here.