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July 16, 2015
Indian Energy Blog

Read Office of Indian Energy blogs.

September 27, 2016
Photo from Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians.
Fond du Lac Band Poised to Double 2020 Clean Energy Goal

The Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians (the Band) held a ceremony celebrating the completion of a 1-megawatt (MW) solar project on the Fond du Lac Indian Reservation in Cloquet, Minnesota, on Aug. 23, 2016.

August 22, 2016
Site of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe’s Oxford Solar Project. Photo by Dennis Schroeder, NREL
Southern Ute Indian Tribe to Begin Construction on Solar Project

Construction on the Southern Ute Indian Tribe’s 1.3-megawatt ground-mounted solar array in Ignacio, Colorado, will begin in early September, according to Namaste Solar, an employee-owned cooperative that will design, develop, and construct the solar array.

August 15, 2016
The Energy Department's Weatherization Assistance Program services every political subdivision in the country through a network of 59 grantees: 50 states, the District of Columbia, five U.S. territories, and three select Native American tribes.
Celebrating 40 Years of America’s Weatherization Assistance Program

The Energy Department is celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Weatherization Assistance Program, which has retrofitted more than 7 million homes across the U.S. and has led the nation in advancing technology, research, and applied scientific practices to make homes energy efficient.

July 27, 2016
On July 25, Office of Indian Energy Director Chris Deschene joined Soboba Tribal Council Vice-Chair Isaiah Vivanco, other members of the tribal council and staff, and partners from Southern California Edison and Optimum Group for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the installation of the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians’ new solar system. Photo from the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians.
Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians Celebrates Initial Step Toward Achieving Its Tribal Energy Vision

On July 25, the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians (Tribe) celebrated the installation of a 1-megawatt (MW) solar photovoltaic (PV) system on its approximately 7,000-acre Reservation in the foothills of the San Jacinto Valley in Southern California.

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 Mountain 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
Indian Energy Beat Spring/Summer 2016—Message from the Director

Dear Friends,

The Office of Indian Energy is proud to stand behind the visionary leadership exemplified by the American Indian and Alaska Native communities recently selected to receive U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) funding and technical assistance for a diverse array of energy projects.

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.

May 9, 2016
Blue Lake Rancheria Energy Director Jana Ganion flanked by Kernen Construction Site Supervisor Gavin Johnson (left) and Blue Lake Rancheria Facilities Director Neil Harris (right). Photo from Blue Lake Rancheria
Blue Lake Rancheria Kicks Off Solar System Construction

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.

April 28, 2016
Office of Indian Energy Chris Deschene (third from the right) was among those in attendance at a groundbreaking ceremony the Seneca Nation of Indians held for its 1.5-MW wind turbine on April 27. Photo by Ken Parker, Food Is Our Medicine.
Seneca Nation of Indians Leverages DOE Support for Wind Turbine Project

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.

April 26, 2016
Village of Chefornak, Alaska. Photo from Lovina Tunuchuk, flickr
Thirteen Alaska Community Efficiency Champions Selected to Receive Technical Assistance from the Energy Department

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.

April 26, 2016
Alaska Energy Champion: Jed Drolet

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.

April 21, 2016
On April 20, Office of Indian Energy Director Chris Deschene (second from right) joined other key stakeholders for the official opening of the Menominee Tribal Enterprises biomass combined heat and power district energy plant in Wisconsin. Photo from Menominee Tribal Enterprises.
New Biomass System Helps Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin Reduce Its Carbon Footprint

On April 20, 2016, Menominee Tribal Enterprises (MTE) celebrated the official opening of its biomass combined heat and power (CHP) district energy plant. MTE is the business arm of the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin, located approximately 45 miles northwest of Green Bay.

April 19, 2016
Film Tells the Story of Indian Country’s Energy Development from the Native Perspective

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).

March 29, 2016
Touring First Solar's 250-megawatt Moapa Southern Paiute Solar Project located on the Moapa River Reservation. From left to right: Office of Indian Energy Director Chris Deschene, Office of Indian Energy Senior Policy Advisor Doug MacCourt, National Renewable Energy Laboratory Engineer Sherry Stout, Moapa Band of Paiutes Vice Chairman Greg Anderson, and Office of Indian Energy 48 Contiguous States Program Manager Sarai Geary. Photo from Sam Scucci, First Solar
Solar Project Provides Jobs and Training for Moapa Band of Paiute Indians

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.

March 24, 2016
Insulation is a key element of weatherization because it provides resistance to heat flow which lowers a family’s heating and cooling costs. Insulation is especially important for homes in arctic climates, like this home in Alaska. The Energy Department's Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) and its network of Alaskan service providers are working to improve the condition of the state’s affordable housing stock, while reducing utility bills for low-income Alaskans.
Energy Department Supports Efficiency Upgrades in Alaska’s Lake and Peninsula Borough

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.

March 10, 2016
Kodiak Island, Alaska. Photo by Andrew Petersen.
Workshop Explores Energy Project Financing Options for Southwest Alaska

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.

March 9, 2016
Energy Department financial support for Alaska is helping remote facilities like the Toksook Bay Well House to identify critical savings opportunities with energy monitoring software. Toksook Bay has a population of about 600.
Building Energy Monitoring Software Aids Native Alaskan Villages

Energy Department financial aid to improve energy efficiency and renewable energy is especially critical in Alaska because harsh climate and the enormity of the state complicates fuel and electricity distribution, resulting in some of the highest energy prices in the country. A portion of Energy Department aid to Alaska is helping with the development and testing of building energy monitoring software to increase a building efficiency and performance. The software is already being widely applied in Alaskan Native villages, cutting energy costs and providing other vital services.

April 5, 2013
Testing materials in the lab at Vorbeck Materials Corp. | Photo courtesy of Vorbeck Materials Corp.
From Lab to Market: DOE's America’s Next Top Energy Innovator Program

America’s Next Top Energy Innovator Program is unleashing the National Labs’ unlicensed patents for use by startups -- and helping build businesses and bring energy technologies from the lab to the marketplace.

March 27, 2013
The America’s Next Top Energy Innovator program, a part of the Startup America initiative, makes it easier for start-ups to use inventions and technology developed at Energy Department labs and facilities. | Photo courtesy of NREL, credit Jim Yost.
America's Next Top Innovator: Lab Tech for Startups

Read about America’s Next Top Energy Innovator -- a program making it easier for startups to use inventions and technology developed at DOE labs and facilities.

March 1, 2013
Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors, and Secretary Chu during a fireside chat at the 2013 ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit | Photo by <a href="">Sarah Gerrity</a>, Energy Department.
Wrap Up: 2013 ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit

The 2013 ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit concluded Wednesday with a final networking session in the Technology Showcase.

March 1, 2013
ARPA-E Innovators: FORO

Foro Energy, with the help of ARPA-E funding, has accomplished what many though impossible - sending high powered lasers over long distances.

February 28, 2013
ARPA-E Innovators: CREE

CREE, with the help of ARPA-E funding, has developed a Silicon Carbide (SIC) transistor which can be used to create solid state transformers capable of meeting the unique needs of the emerging smart grid.

February 12, 2013
Brookhaven physicists Weidong Si (left) and Qiang Li look into the vacuum chamber where the new high-field iron-based superconductors are made through a process called pulsed-laser deposition.
Iron-based Material Paves Way for New Superconductors

When chilled to frigid temperatures hundreds of degrees Celsius below zero, these remarkable materials are singularly capable of perfectly conducting electric current.

February 8, 2013
The first stage of the "zombie cell" only moderately heated, the cell is now pure silica and needed a gold coating for a scanning electron microscope to image it. | Photo courtesy of Sandia National Laboratories
Zombie Replicants to Outperform the Living

A new, simple technique coats a cell with a silica solution to form a near-perfect replica of its structure, so it can be used by researchers at higher temperatures and pressures.

February 6, 2013
Professor Jack Brouwer, Associate Director and Chief Technology Officer of the National Fuel Cell Research Center, points out the tri-generation facility that uses biogas from Orange County Sanitation District’s wastewater treatment plant to produce hydrogen, heat and power. | Photo courtesy of the Energy Department.
Fueling the Next Generation of Vehicle Technology

Learn how fuel cell technologies are vital to our nation's future energy and transportation economies.

January 31, 2013
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus speaks to attendees at the 2011 Energy Innovation Summit in Washington, DC. | Energy Department photo.
ARPA-E and the Military Team Up on New Technologies and Summit Partnerships

New technologies could change the way troops stay cool and warm on the battlefield -- and save energy and money for the military along the way.