My interest in energy planning on the Navajo Nation stemmed from the desire to improve energy resource development in my own community. The legacy of environmental and health impacts from uranium and coal mining motivated me to find ways of developing energy resources in a manner more consistent with cultural values and the visions of the Navajo Nation. While I have developed many valuable technical analysis skills and tools in my Ph.D. program, most of the knowledge about Indian energy issues requires significant on-the-ground engagement with communities and their leaders. As a Tribal Energy Program intern, I have developed important connections in the area of tribal energy working with tribal leaders and my fellow interns.
For the Bishop Paiute Tribe of California, clean energy projects offer a way to feed three birds with one seed. By taking steps to reduce energy use and harnessing renewable energy sources to meet the community’s energy needs, the Tribe is working to mitigate the impact of high energy costs, create good local jobs for its people, and preserve the land and resources for future generations.
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.