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.
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.
The Blue Lake Rancheria (Tribe) is on the fast track to a clean energy future, and on May 3, 2016, the Tribe hit a new milestone as construction of its 500-kilowatt (kW) solar array got underway. The solar system is a cornerstone of the Tribe’s low-carbon, community-scale microgrid project, scheduled to be online by year-end.
The Seneca Nation sought support from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to develop a strategic energy plan. The Seneca Nation of Indians was competitively selected for a First Steps grant to develop its vision of energy self-sufficiency, quantify its energy needs and resources, and identify its energy options.
Today, at the 2016 Alaska Rural Energy Conference in Fairbanks, I had the pleasure of announcing 13 communities selected to receive technical assistance as part of the Remote Alaska Communities Energy Efficiency (RACEE) Competition. The RACEE Competition is a $4 million joint effort between the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Indian Energy and the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy focused on significantly accelerating efforts by remote Alaskan communities to adopt sustainable energy strategies.
Change doesn’t happen on its own. It’s led by dedicated and passionate people who are championing innovative solutions to Alaska’s energy challenges. Alaska Energy Champions is a regular feature spotlighting pioneers of Alaska’s new energy frontier.
On April 13, the documentary “Red Power Energy” made its debut as the first film in the International Institute for Indigenous Resource Management’s 2016 Indigenous Film Series. Shown on the oversized screen at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science’s Phipps Theater, the film delivered an impactful, larger-than-life portrait of renewable and nonrenewable energy development in Indian Country today. Among the tribes featured were the Crow Nation (Montana); Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation (North Dakota); Northern Cheyenne (Montana); Oglala Lakota Nation (South Dakota); Rosebud Sioux (South Dakota); Shoshone and Arapaho Tribes of the Wind River Reservation (North Dakota); and Southern Ute (Colorado).
Last week, the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Indian Energy hosted a two-day energy track and booth at the National Reservation Economic Summit (RES) in Las Vegas. After a busy few days at the conference, I had the opportunity to join Office of Indian Energy Director Chris Deschene, Senior Policy Advisor Doug MacCourt, and Program Manager Sarai Geary on a visit to a solar project on the Moapa River Reservation.
Effective insulation can result in big savings in heating and cooling costs, especially in arctic climates such as Alaska. The Energy Department's Weatherization Assistance Program is helping cold-weather families reduce their utility bills while improving the health of their homes.
Last week, the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Indian Energy hosted a Project Development and Finance workshop in conjunction with the Southwest Alaska Municipal Conference (SWAMC) Annual Economic Summit in Anchorage, Alaska.