The National Park Service has approved a plan to improve energy efficiency and renewable energy production systems at the Lamar Buffalo Ranch, which is a National Register Historic District.
A finding of “No Significant Impact” was recently signed by Sue Masica, the Director of the Intermountain Region of the National Park Service. The finding completes the National Environmental Policy Act and National Historic Preservation Act processes which began earlier this year, according to a statement released by the park’s public affairs office.
Sustainable energy infrastructure improvements at the ranch under the plan’s selected action are designed to conserve energy and water, reduce waste, replace and expand the existing solar energy system including storage batteries and related control equipment, and include installation of a new micro hydro turbine. Equipment will be installed in several buildings to monitor energy use and an administrative building would be expanded to provide office space for existing functions. Historic and non-historic buildings will also be better insulated to decrease their heating and electrical energy needs.
The Lamar Buffalo Ranch is located approximately 10 miles from the nearest electric service and the existing solar energy system was installed in 1996. Many of the components are at the end of their useful life and buildings are not energy efficient. This project will increase the renewable energy available for use at the ranch and reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of the current fossil fuel-powered generator currently in operation. The project will improve the off-grid power capabilities at the ranch, and help in educate the public about these types of systems in use in Yellowstone National Park.
Copies of the Environmental Assessment and the FONSI can be found on the NPS Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) website at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/LamarEA.