The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Indian Energy is pleased to announce the addition of new program staff in Washington, D.C. and Anchorage, Alaska. Since 2011, the Office of Indian Energy has focused on developing and implementing technical assistance, education and capacity building, and outreach programs to tribal leaders, staff, and enterprises, as well as Alaska Native villages and corporations, to promote and develop clean tribal energy projects.
This spring, the San Carlos Apache Tribe plans to break ground on a new tribally financed and owned 1.1-megawatt solar photovoltaic (PV) array that will power tribal enterprises, reduce energy use, and curb greenhouse gas emissions.
Between 2010 and 2013, Chaninik Wind Group (CWG) implemented a multi-village wind heat smart grid in the Alaska Native villages of Kongiganak, Kwigillingok, and Tuntutuliak, integrating heating systems and a grid installed with partial funding through the DOE Tribal Energy Program with the five existing 95-kW wind turbines CWG had installed in each community. Each system produces wind capacity in excess of 200% of the peak load and uses an on-site wind-diesel smart grid control system to maximize efficiency.
As members of the State, Local, and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience, Chairwoman Karen Diver, Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa (MN), and Mayor Reggie Joule, Northwest Arctic Borough (AK), are tasked with providing President Obama with recommendations on measures that will help tribal communities better prepare for and deal with the effects of climate change.
As a student at New Mexico State University majoring in electrical engineering technology with a minor in renewable energy technology, I want to help my community by incorporating renewable energy technology so power will be distributed to every home, business, or school at an affordable cost to both my community and the electrical company. Visiting the NREL facility not only heightened my desire to become an engineer but also to see my goals come to fruition.
As a senior studying environmental science at the University of New Mexico and a member of the Zuni Pueblo, I have always believed that it is important for our Tribe to develop and protect our resources. There has always been a desire in my future goals to help my community with its resources, particularly to protect our lands and water. Our Tribe is unique in its language, customs, and traditions, and the environment we occupy is precious and complex. My reason for wanting to visit NREL ties into this desire to be involved in sustainable research, not only with energy but in other avenues as well.
As an electrical engineering consultant working for my Tribe of Zuni Pueblo, I had the opportunity to arrange a trip to the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) for two undergraduate students in the latter part of October. The trip gave all of us a glimpse of the potential for Zuni Pueblo in building a technical pipeline for our people.