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July 19, 2016
Expanding the Tribal Role in Carrying Out a Critical Mission in Indian Country

I’m driven by a critical mission: to maximize the development and deployment of energy solutions for the benefit of American Indians and Alaska Natives. Our blueprint for fulfilling this mission has three programmatic pillars: Deployment, Innovation, and Policy. They’re equally important, but in this blog post I’m going to focus on the Deployment Program.

July 15, 2016
Colton Heaps, NREL Project Leader, leads a discussion during the Ute Moutain Ute Youth Energy Workshop held on July 6, 2016, at the Ute Mountain Recreation Center. Photo by Josh Bauer, NREL.
Biomass Adventures and More: Ute Mountain Ute Youth Energy Day

Environmental Engineering Intern Rachael Boothe from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) on hand during the Ute Mountain Ute Youth Energy Workshop held on July 6 at the Ute Mountain Recreation Center.

July 6, 2016
This Government Brochure Is Something to Brag About

Some people may find it hard to get excited about a brochure. But an informative outreach piece can be a very powerful tool. That's why I'm excited to announce the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Indian Energy’s program overview brochure recently received a prestigious Award for Publication Excellence, also known as an APEX Award.

June 23, 2016
During the Office of Indian Energy’s System Advisor Model Training June 7–8 at Northern Arizona University, attendees had the opportunity to input, model, and analyze real data to make more informed decisions about renewable energy projects. Photo by Sherry Stout, NREL
Finance and Performance Model Training Helps Tribes with Energy Project Decision Making

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Indian Energy hosted a System Advisor Model (SAM) Training at Northern Arizona University (NAU) in Flagstaff, Arizona. We were excited to be on NAU’s campus and work in collaboration with their Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals, which seeks to strengthen tribal capacity.

June 15, 2016
After two seawall breaches and associated disaster declarations, the Quinault Indian Nation, located on Washington's Olympic Peninsula, has decided to move two of its villages to safer, more climate-resilient locations. With the help of DOE, the Tribe is working to ensure that the relocated village of Taholah has a resilient energy system. Photo by Eliza Hotchkiss, NREL
DOE Assists Quinault Indian Nation with Plans for a Climate-Resilient Community

For many centuries, the 23-mile stretch of Pacific coastline on Washington's Olympic Peninsula has been home to the Quinault Indian Nation (Tribe). The Quinault Indian Reservation, a triangular tract of land comprising more than 200,000 acres, includes the villages of Taholah, Queets, and Amanda Park. The Reservation’s western boundary is among the few undeveloped shorelines remaining in the United States.

June 6, 2016
Alaska possesses great natural beauty, but also has some of the most expensive energy costs in the United States. The Energy Department is helping many Alaskan communities adopt more sustainable energy strategies to alleviate high energy costs.
Alaskan Community Efficiency Champions Compete for Funds to Implement Energy Reduction Plans

Thirteen Native Alaska villages thirteen are developing unique plans to reduce per capita energy consumption 15% by 2020 with technical assistance from the U.S. Department of Energy. This is a $4 million effort by remote Alaskan communities to adopt sustainable energy strategies and thereby help alleviate high energy costs.

June 3, 2016
Many homes in Alaska such as this one under construction are using energy much more efficiently as a result of financial support from the Energy Department to the state.  Photo courtesy Alaska Housing Finance Corporation. (AHFC)
Energy Department Helps Alaska Develop Energy Retrofit Programs

Support from the Energy Department’s State Energy Program (SEP), is helping Alaska building managers and facility owners understand best practices for energy efficiency retrofits and retro-commissioning, and tools for monitoring and improving energy use in remote villages.

May 23, 2016
Students pose in front of Buckland’s 10.53-kW solar system used to power the village’s new water plant. Photo from Alison Jech, Buckland School.
Buckland Students Explore Ways to Address Rural Alaska Energy Challenges

Last month, with support from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Indian Energy, I had the privilege of taking my students from the Buckland School to the Alaska Rural Energy Conference in Fairbanks. Students presented to conference attendees and watched presentations from national, regional, state, and local energy experts that tied into the clean energy issues they are studying as part of the Alaska Humanities Forum Sister School Exchange program.

May 10, 2016
Solar installation supervisors (blue shirts) from GRID worked with tribal volunteers (white shirts) to complete five residential solar PV system installations on the Bishop Paiute Reservation in March 2016. Photo from Gary Bacock, Bishop Paiute Tribe.
Five Things That Make a Good Tribal Energy Project Great

There is no formulaic approach for achieving tribal energy sufficiency. After all, each American Indian and Alaska Native community has its own unique energy resources, challenges, and goals. Many Indian tribes have made considerable progress toward achieving their energy goals. Take the Bishop Paiute Tribe as an example. This community, located at the foot of the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains in California, must be doing something right. The Tribe is rapidly approaching the 100th residential solar installation on its 523-household Reservation. 

May 10, 2016
Six PV arrays generate 32 kW of energy to power 20 units at the AHA Sunrise Acres housing complex on the Saint Regis Mohawk Reservation. Photo by Rachel Sullivan, National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
Tribal Housing Authorities: Advancing Energy Projects Through Informed Collaboration

Tribal housing authorities often play a major role in facilitating energy development projects for the communities they serve. In fact, of the 16 projects selected to receive funding from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Indian Energy in March, two are headed up by housing authorities.