>>James Jensen: Welcome to everyone. I'm James Jensen, today's webinar host. I am a contractor supporting the Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs' Tribal Energy Webinar Series. Today's webinar, titled "Developing the Workforce for the Energy Future," is the seventh webinar of the 2022 DOE Tribal Energy Webinar Series.
Let's go over some event details. Today's webinar is being recorded and will be made available on DOE's Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs' website in about one week. Copies of today's presentation slides will be posted to the Office of Indian Energy's website shortly after this webinar, if not before. Everyone will receive a post-webinar e-mail with a link to where the slides and recording will be located. Because we are recording this webinar all phones have been muted. We will answer your written questions at the end of the final presentation. You can submit a question at any time by clicking on the question button located in the webinar control box on your screen and typing in your question.
We'll get started with some opening remarks from Lizana Pierce. Ms. Pierce is a Senior Engineer and the Deployment Supervisor for the Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs and duty stationed in Golden, Colorado. She is responsible for the execution of the deployment program, which is national in scope. Specifically, the deployment program includes financial assistance, technical assistance, and education and outreach. She also implements national funding opportunities and administers some of the resultant tribal energy project grants and agreements. She has over 25 years of experience in project development and management and has been assisting tribes in developing their energy resources for over 20 years. Ms. Pierce holds a bachelor's of science degree in mechanical engineering from Colorado State University.
Lizana, the virtual floor is now yours.
>>Lizana Pierce: Thank you, James. And hello, everyone. I join James in welcoming you to today's webinar. This webinar series is sponsored by the Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs, otherwise referred to for short as the Office of Indian Energy. The Office of Indian Energy's congressional charter is to promote Indian energy development, efficiency, and use; reduce or stabilize energy costs; enhance and strengthen Indian tribal energy and economic infrastructure; and to bring electric power and service to Indian lands and homes.
To provide this assistance, our deployment program partners with Indian tribes and Alaskan native villages to overcome the barriers to energy development. Our deployment program, as James said, is comprised of a three-prong approach, consisting of financial assistance for competitive grants, technical assistance at no cost to tribes and tribal entities, and education and capacity-building. This Tribal Energy Webinar Series is just one example of our education and capacity-building effort. Specifically, the webinar series is intended to provide attendees with information on tools and resources to develop and implement tribal energy plans, programs, and projects, to highlight tribal energy case studies, and identify business strategies tribes can use to expand their energy options and develop sustainable local economies.
This year's webinar series, entitled "Empowering Native Communities and Sustaining Future Generations," is focused on changing – the changing energy landscape and how tribes can position themselves to participate in the energy transition to the benefit of their communities and future generations. In this seventh webinar of the series, we'll explore tribal energy employment and how this opportunity is expanding as we transition to clean energy. As we transition to a new energy future, energy systems and technologies will continue to evolve. This transition will require workers with different skills and knowledge, and tribes can take advantage of this transition by developing a tribal workforce with the skills necessary for these new jobs. This webinar will share some energy job trends and showcase a variety of tribal case studies, demonstrating paths towards developing a workforce for the new energy future.
We do hope this webinar and the series as a whole is useful to you. We also welcome your feedback. So, please let us know if there's ways we can make the series better. Feedback can be sent to our main e-mail at IndianEnergy@hq.doe.gov.
And before I turn it back to James, I want to personally thank the presenters for giving up their time and preparing for and presenting on today's webinar. Thank you all. And with that, the virtual floor is yours, James.
>>James Jensen: Thanks, Lizana. Before we get started with the presentations, I first want to introduce all of today's speakers.
Our first presenter is David Keyser. David is a Senior Advisor in the Department of Energy's Office of Energy Jobs and Office of Policy, on detail from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, where he is a Senior Labor Economist. Prior to his work at the laboratory, he worked for the State of Colorado as an economist in the State Demography Office within the Department of Local Affairs. David holds bachelor's and master's degrees in economics from Colorado State University.
Following David, we will hear from John Red Cloud. John is the Managing Director at Red Cloud Renewable. John was born and raised on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and is a sixth-generation descendant of Chief Red Cloud. John has a B.A. from the University of San Diego and was a high school teacher prior to his career in renewable energy.
Our third presenter, following John, will be Arash Moalemi – sorry, sorry, Arash – Deputy General Manager of the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority Generation Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of NTUA. Arash previously served as NTUA's general counsel from March 2013 through December 2021. Arash obtained his degree in business administration, operations management from California State University Fullerton, and later earned his jurisdoctorate from Florida Coastal School of Law. He spent his entire legal career serving his Navajo people.
Our fourth presentation today will be from Gene Quinn. Gene has a four-decade career in the utility industry, working his way up from a meter reader with Mojave Electric Co-op to his current position as the Assistant General Manager at Aha Macav Power Service, tribally charted by the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe.
Our final presentation will be from Stephanie Bostwick. Stephanie is a Project Manager in Resilient System Design and Engineering Group at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, where she has worked closely with American Indian tribes on resilience and energy sovereignty. Today, she will be presenting on her work with Northwest Indian College, whose main campus is located at the Lummi Nation.
Thanks to each of our presenters for making the time to join us today. With that, let's get started with our first presentation. David, you may proceed once we have your slides up. Thank you.
>>David Keyser: Thank you. And thank you all for joining this webinar today. I will be talking about energy jobs in the United States. And let's go to the next slide.
All of the jobs data that I'll be presenting today comes from our Department of Energy United States Energy and Employment Report. Just a little background on what this report is. it is a combination of data from surveys and then also data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. We get somewhere between 33,000 and 35,000 responses from employers across the United States in the energy sector to understand what's going on in the energy space. We published the first report in 2016. DOE published it in 2017, and then the National Association of State Energy Officials and Energy Futures Initiative published it from 2018 to 2020. And it is now back at DOE for the past two years.
Right now, the report has data for the nation and then also all 50 states and the District of Columbia. But next month, we will be releasing county-level data for 2022. And we plan on releasing county-level data next year as well, so if you're interested, keep an eye out for that. Let's go to the next slide here.
There are a few highlights that came out of this report this year. We saw in 2021 positive job growth amongst basically all major categories within energy jobs. The only exceptions to that are – were in the fuel space, especially petroleum. Overall, energy jobs grew faster than the US economy as a whole, but going back to 2020 they actually declined faster than the economy as a whole in 2020. And so, we're still trying to dig out of that hole.
We also saw strong job growth in clean energy industries and carbon-reducing energies – carbon-reducing technologies, while the job declines, as I mentioned, were in fossil fuels. We do see the need for additional investments in this area in order to really turbocharge this clean energy workforce, and we certainly also see some opportunities for improvements in diversity in that area as well. And so, there are some – certainly are some opportunities moving forward. So, let's move to the next slide.
So, I will start out talking about some of the national data and the national trends, and then I will move into some of the state-level information. So, let's move to the next slide.
Overall, in 2021 we saw that there were 7.8 million energy jobs in the United States. That is an increase of about 300,000 from 2020. And so, that is four percent growth. And as I mentioned, that is faster than the US economy as a whole, which grew 2.8 percent. And that is actually pretty typical for the energy sector. Going back to 2016 it's grown at about twice the rate as the US economy as a whole, so we typically do see faster than average growth there. And let's move to the next slide.
When I talk about energy jobs, the way that this report organizes it is we have five major categories. That's electricity, transmission distribution and storage, fuels, energy efficiency, and motor vehicles, with motor vehicles being the largest sector overall. This differs a little bit from the way that the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bureau of Economic Analysis, Census, and those other data agencies look at jobs, because what they do is they'll look it as industries, which you can see the list of industries on the bottom here in the legend, where we've got agriculture, manufacturing, professional services, et cetera.
What we do is we look at each of these categories as a combination of energy jobs that are in each of these industries. So, for example, in energy efficiency, when you look at that category you can see that about half of those energy efficiency jobs are in construction, but that isn't the only industry that each of these categories is made up of. And so, it's a little bit different that way. And so, when we go into fuels, for example, as another example, a lot of people think of fuels as just being extraction, and that's not what that is. There still are jobs like accountants that support fuel companies and things like that. And so, it is a comprehensive look at what's going on within each of these technology categories.
The one industry that we don't include in any of these categories is retail sales, and the reason why is that it just gets too difficult to parse out what's energy and what's not energy within that category. So, for example, if you have someone who's working at a gas station, is that an energy job or is it not an energy job? Are they selling fuel or are they selling food? It's too difficult to pull that apart, and so that is not included. Let's move to the next slide.
But as I mentioned, all technology groups except for fuel grew in 2021. 2021 growth, while it was fast and faster than the economy as a whole, it wasn't enough to make up for the total energy jobs lost in 2020. In 2020 over 500,000 energy jobs were lost in 2020, and we grew about 300,000 this job, so there are still fewer energy jobs than there were in 2019. This isn't true of all technology categories, and I'll get to that in just a little bit, but it is true for most.
Union density in the energy sector is actually higher than the national average for private sector employees, so there is more union representation in energy. Demographically, we do see females and Black or African American workers represented at lower-than-average percentages, while at the same time workers of two or more races are more represented in the energy sector than other races. And we also see a higher-than-average concentration of veterans and a lower-than-average concentration of workers over the age of 55. And when I say concentration I'm talking about the percentage of workers in the energy space, and that is compared to these characteristics of the national workforce as a whole. Let's go to the next slide.
Doing just a bit of a deeper dive, though, on the American Indian and Alaska natives in the energy workforce, this group is represented at higher-than-average – more represented than the national workforce average. So, nationally, this group is about one percent of the overall workforce, whereas on average within the energy space the American Indian and Alaska natives are an average of two percent of the energy workforce. And really, it's much higher within the transmission, distribution, and storage category than these other categories. But overall, within each of these groups the representation is higher than the national average. So, let's move on to the next slide with some more topline findings.
Motor vehicles is the largest sector within the energy jobs space, which includes repairs and manufacturing, and it also grew the fastest and – in 2021. Within transmission, distribution, and storage, all technologies within that sector grew. In electric power generation, all technologies in electricity grew except for nuclear electricity generation and coal electricity generation. Nuclear is actually pretty interesting because jobs actually declined in nuclear electricity generation, while at the same time they increased in nuclear fuels. But overall, there was a decline in fuel jobs and that was really driven by decreases in coal and petroleum. And we also asked employers as part of this survey if they're having hiring difficulties, various levels of hiring difficulties. And what we saw is that basically across the board employers reported difficulties hiring workers. And let's move on to the next slide.
And we saw some of the fastest growth in the vehicle space, especially with clean vehicles. We saw electric vehicle job growth – electric vehicle jobs increase by 26.2 percent – so, that's almost 22,000 new jobs; hybrid electric vehicle jobs increasing almost 20 percent, and so that's almost 24,000 new jobs. And so, that's extraordinarily fast growth. If you think about going back to that economy-wide job growth number being 2.8 percent, these increasing by 20 and 26 percent is just very, very fast job growth.
We also saw very fast growth in solar electricity, increasing by 5.4 percent, and so that's adding over 17,000 new jobs. That was actually the fastest job growth in that electricity space and that electric power generation space, so there's a lot going on with solar. Wind also increased by 2.9 percent, with a little bit over 3000 new jobs. And yes, that's fewer than some of these that we're seeing with these vehicles and solar, but wind also didn't lose jobs in 2020, and so it's one of the few sectors to actually exceed its 2019 numbers.
Energy efficiency jobs increased across the board with energy efficiency. So, that grew by 2.7 percent, and so that's almost 58,000 new jobs. And then, transmission, distribution, and storage increased almost 2 percent, and that was another 23,000 new jobs. Let's go on to the next slide.
And there were only eight technology groups that surpassed their 2019 levels, and what's interesting about this is that all of these are in carbon-reducing categories. And I'm considering natural gas vehicles to be a carbon-reducing category because it emits less carbon than a regular petroleum vehicle. And so, that is something that's really interesting to come out of this. But most of these, most jobs in here are really in cleaner vehicles where we've got the most from hybrids, EVs, and plug-in electric vehicles. So, let's move on to the next slide.
And with that, I will dive into some state-level data. Let's go to the next slide.
On a state basis, motor vehicles added the most jobs. And so, states with higher growth in – higher concentration in motor vehicle jobs experienced the fastest job growth. Overall, Michigan added the most jobs, and that's followed by Texas with just under 31,000, and then California with just over 29,000. When we look at the number of jobs added, Texas actually added the most, but it also lost the most in petroleum jobs. It lost 14,000 petroleum jobs. When I say lost, it doesn't necessarily mean that those jobs went away, but there are just fewer jobs. But Texas declined by 14,000 in petroleum jobs, which is significantly more than any other state. The next highest losses were in Louisiana, with 3700. And so, that number in Texas was quite significant. So, let's move on to the next slide and we'll talk a little bit more about growth rates.
Most – the fastest fuel growth was actually in the northern states, in the northern Midwest – so, that was kind of around the northern West and Midwest. This is around the back-end formation, so the fastest growth is really up there in North Dakota and Montana, all the way across the country to the South. The third-fastest growth was in New Mexico, with five percent. So, that actual growth rate in North Dakota of 21 percent is quite a bit faster than even the following two states for growth.
In terms of electricity growth, we saw the fastest growth in the Midwest, right along the so-called wind belt. And so, we're seeing that in Nebraska, Minnesota, and Iowa. And so, those were really geographically grouped together.
Moving to the next slide, the growth rate in vehicles – we saw this really dispersed geographically. The fastest was in Texas, and then shortly behind that was in Tennessee, and then that was followed by Indiana. And so, the top two states, I guess you could say, are in the South, and then Indiana in the Midwest. But really strong growth in that southeastern and south-southeastern part of the United States.
Transmission, distribution, and storage: That growth was actually the fastest in Appalachia. We saw that growing 29 percent in West Virginia, and then 14 percent in Pennsylvania. And so, West Virginia, that transmission, distribution, and storage in West Virginia in particular is really propping up the energy jobs in that state. And then, Oklahoma was the third for that. And let's move to the next slide.
And then, we saw the fastest growth in energy efficiency in the south-southwestern part of the United States, led by Nevada at seven percent, New Mexico also at seven percent, and Oklahoma at five percent. Oklahoma and New Mexico were the only two states in the United States where they were in the top three for one or more of these different technology groups. So, certainly we see New Mexico and Oklahoma in energy efficiency, but then Oklahoma was the third-highest growth in transmission, distribution storage, and then New Mexico was third also in fuels. And so, those states had a lot of activity in the energy space. Now, let's move on to the next slide.
This year's report, we also looked at something called net-zero-aligned jobs. The definition of net-zero-aligned is basically technologies that can get us to a net-zero carbon future, and so those include zero-carbon-emitting technologies like nuclear, as well as renewables. And when I say renewables that does include biofuels.
So, the states with the highest number of net-zero-aligned jobs, California is by far the highest, with 2.7 million, and then the next closest is actually Texas. But these are also – these states that have the highest number of these net-zero-aligned jobs are actually states that have the most people and the most workers, and so it's also useful to look at states where the net-zero-aligned, they have the highest percentage of energy jobs in these net-zero-aligned areas. And so, Vermont is actually the highest with 58 percent, and these top five states, Vermont, Nevada, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, and Rhode Island, that ranges from anywhere between 58 percent and 52 percent of total jobs. And it's not in this slide, but nationally the net-zero – the number of net-zero-aligned, the percentage of net-zero-aligned as a portion of all energy jobs is about 40 percent, just under 40 percent.
That said – move to the next slide, and I'll just say thank you all. You have my e-mail address if you have any questions about any of this. I think we may have some time at the end of this webinar for Q&A and I'll stick around for any questions that may arise at the end.
>>James Jensen: Excellent. Thanks, David. I appreciate you providing this broad, kind of high-level perspective. And we do have a question for you at this time that we'll give you during the Q&A. So, with that we'll move on to John Red Cloud. John, once we pull your slides up you're ready to go.
>>John Red Cloud: Great. Thank you very much. Greetings, everyone. I want to give a quick thank you to James Jensen and Lizana Pierce for setting all this in motion and providing us really a great platform to speak today to a wider audience. And I want to say good morning to those perhaps still in the morning and then of course good afternoon to those who may be in other time zones. Again, my name is John Red Cloud, Managing Director for Red Cloud Renewable. As you can see on the slide there, we are a perpetually Native American-led nonprofit and we are based on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, which is in Southwest South Dakota. So, fairly small footprint but our land base is actually about the size of Connecticut. So, a lot of acreage there. Tribal membership. Latest census data – I know they had done an update – was 30,000-ish-plus, somewhere in those areas.
So, we're doing work here, and I guess primarily our focus is helping tribal people, Native Americans, and others understand today's climate resilience solutions with the – by empowering them with renewable skills and education of tomorrow. And this kind of goes back to the ethos of the organization, and I think that part of that approach that we have is ingraining our cultural values into the organization and how we really face outward, and staying really true to that. And one thing that our executive director – his name is Chief Henry Red Cloud – he always talks about walking the prayer forward for the seventh generation, essentially meaning that we are all of course responsible today for the conditions that we put in place for the next generation. So, gathering today, to me, is a great example of that.
And I'm real – actually humbled and honored to be included in this group of luminaries. I'm really kind of sitting here in awe of the groups that are here and just grateful to have a voice. And it's really great that David was able to provide such informative data. I mean, completely impactful. I was at NREL last week for a tour and they're really leading the way in research and development and providing many useful tools for those of us that are in Indian Country doing work on the ground here. So, grateful to all the folks at NREL as well. Wonderful staff there and great hospitality. Next slide, please.
So, that's a – kind of a shot there of our campus, we like to call it. And our mission statement we have kind of there: Stimulate a significant revisioning of tribal communities where energy is created in renewable ways, meals are nutritional and fortified by traditional Lakota foods, homes are built in a sustainable way with local tribal builders and materials, and the land is cared for and regenerated with the next seven generations [audio dropout]. To achieve that approach there really speaks to the grassroots formation of Red Cloud Renewable, and I think could be a great way – we would like to see other tribes form partnerships, coalitions that really bridge across from the tribal governments to spiritual leaders, elders in the community. I think that's an important way to start a movement. And we're hoping that other tribes can see some of the work that we've been doing and then make that transition, provide a concerted effort, and do something similar that really helps and focuses on the community there and involves people as stakeholders, because it's really important that tribes kind of lead the way individually for their people there. So, we're really hoping others can kind of emulate and perhaps replicate and scale up what Red Cloud Renewable has done and, I think, serves as a great example to kind of confidently step into that energy future, if you will. Next slide, please.
So, Red Cloud Renewable does have four pillars, as you can see there. We have our renewable energy side. One of our hallmark programs is Tribal Train the Trainer, which is a great example of workforce development. Essentially, this empowers tribal members to come to Red Cloud Renewable, receive this training through the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners. They – it's a NABCEP certification for solar associates. The idea is for those tribal members to go back to their individual reservations, their tribal communities, and pass that on, pass it forward. And the hope is that by learning something [audio dropout] with the intent to pass that knowledge on to others that they're going to more deeply ingrain those concepts. And as many of us know here, the renewable industry has been experiencing phenomenal growth really, so the learning curve and technology changes and will continue to change at a very rapid pace and disseminate to tribal communities.
So, the key is to stay on top of that and have as many trainings as possible and really create that workforce that people in their tribal communities can then look to other tribal members, and we believe it's a reflection of themselves so they can go there and look at maybe one of their cousins or uncles or aunties or somebody that had been to the training and came back and now they're demonstrating and showing knowledge of this renewable energy.
Then we have our food sovereignty program on the Pin Ridge Reservation there. And we think this is a great way to really bring in community. And this year, for example, we have an Elder Food Grow program where we got input from local elders what sort of food would you like to see grown and harvested? And we were able to provide that during harvest time this year and bring that, bring a smile to the face of some of the elders, knowing that it was something being done here. And it shows again as an example of kind of what can be done on a community level.
Land stewardship. We're really proud of our reforestation program. At – this spring we're going to have our most ambitious undertaking: 43,000 trees planting on various parts of the Pine Ridge Reservation and also in the Black Hills around the Bear Butte area. We've also participated in that. So, we'd like to continue to do that as well. And just, again, an economic opportunity for locals, planting trees.
And then, our sustainable building arm. We have a really ambitious project called Wiconi, which in Lakota means "life." And we're trying to undertake a way of utilizing local materials there, do this compressed earth block. And then, also a really unique concept and partnership we formed with an organization called In Our Hands, and we're doing cellular concrete homes, which is a really – they kind of call them "foamcrete," foam domes. An amazing concept. We are doing that. And again, we are hoping that can provide a solution to really a housing crisis that's on many reservations.
So, those are our four pillars there. Next slide, please.
So, growing up on the reservation, you really take stock of where – of how things are. When you grow up you don't really understand or realize kind of the situation until maybe you leave, but many probably in the – in attendance know that lots of tribes do have lower-than-average per capita incomes. I believe – Red Cloud Renewable believes that it's a lack of workforce development. And when that occurs, then the hope gets diminished and economic opportunities are lacking, and then it begins this self-perpetuating cycle. So, on our – on the Pine Ridge Reservation, for example, data suggests [audio dropout] unemployment is down 70, 80 percent. And as you can see here, the biggest employers are generally the tribe and then schools and then the government. So, IHS or BIA jobs. And if you're not one of those, chances are you're probably not working. You may be involved in a cottage industry, making artwork or doing something, but generally not having that there. So, another stark example of kind of the conditions on reservations. Next slide, please.
And kind of going back to – many tribes are geographically isolated. It would be similar to many cities or smaller rural communities and most – many tribes we work with in the Northern Plains areas are geographically remote, so they don't have that access to training centers. So, part of the, I think, solution here is to provide tribes with access to training centers, either right on their reservations or within reasonable travel distance. And by doing so, and training folks in workforce development in Pine Ridge, we're able to provide a pathway for tribal members, other Native Americans to join the solar workforce with us, looking towards tomorrow, forward-leaning. So, for us, we've been able to work so far with the 70 tribes and upskill and train 1100 students. So, as we know, there are 574 federally recognized tribes and more than 2 million tribal members, so calling it the tip of the iceberg is really a disservice. We have much more work to do. Great opportunities exist, and so we're there, and I would like to think that this is just the beginning of a greater shift in momentum and just a new paradigm. Next slide, please.
And part of this is, I believe – Red Cloud Renewable believes is kind of a pan-Indian, pan-Native movement. Collaborative efforts among tribes are really crucial. We have to get together. We have to communicate. We have to find common ground together. And I think that's really a key here. So, for our experience, native-led organizations are able to engage in what I like to call WHAM campaign: winning of hearts and minds. This is critical. Community buy-in. Creating stakeholders amongst elders, amongst spiritual leaders, amongst the youth. It's really important that this gets normalized and people can see this is not just a concept or something they see on TV or a sci-fi episode. This is happening on their reservation, in their communities, on their backyards, in their auntie's house, on the roofs. These are really, really important for people to see.
And to me, that really enhances that buy-in, which pretty crucial. As a grassroots organization, we're able to say confidently that those types that are formed in that manner, at least in Indian Country for sure, they really enhance that focus on many reservations, which traditionally – and we're hoping to change that conversation, but they've been marginalized. Lots of resources have been out there but sometimes they kind of skip over areas that are rural – South Dakota, North Dakota – where there's not so many people. And again, we're hoping to change that because we are still here and we want to be here tomorrow in a bigger way. So, our core belief is place-based initiatives go beyond the traditional workforce development because we know these efforts are more acutely aware of these needed foundational changes and can be in place to kind of be that voice using cultural wisdom, using the ethos, using the people, using that spiritual knowledge and kind of the heritage, and the culture, pageantry. That's all beautiful and we think can contribute to workforce development in ways that are not possible, we believe, in some mainstream circles. Next slide, please.
So, for – these are examples, four examples quickly here of workforce development issues, initiatives that we have implemented. Again, our Tribal Train the Trainer – T4, we call it. This is classroom instruction and hands-on experience at the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center. So, again, that's one of our programs.
We recently were awarded a DOE Weatherization Assistance Program grant. We're calling it Native-to-Native Energy Sovereignty, and that's a three-year grant. And then, what that is doing is creating a native workforce that goes in and weatherizes homes doing deep energy retrofits and adding solar deployment to these homes and really doing something unique that's never been done. So, we're excited about that. it should be starting soon. And then, as I'm speaking here today we have our Green Jobs Project, which is actually our students, our T4 graduates are now putting a solar array on top of a tribal elder's home in Wagner, South Dakota, part of the Yankton Sioux Tribe. So, really amazing to see the photos coming out. The smiles are huge. The families are being benefited. And this just kind of comes full circle for us and we're really, really grateful that we can be a part of this, such a movement in a reservation environment having real world applications.
And then, most recently we're waiting on news if we're able to be – if we're encouraged to apply for a program that's going to identify, recruit, and train Native American women specifically to be PV panel installers. So, we're hoping for that. We're asking for $1.65 million. We are a federal contractor, so we feel pretty good about that, and we're just kind of awaiting it now. And last slide, I believe, is the next one. So...
Again, it's been a real privilege and honor to present today. And I'm really grateful that I can share some of the things that a successful workplace development program and collaborative effort in Indian Country and amongst tribes and in communities, what that can do. And I just kind of leave you with a quote: "As we work to create light for others, we naturally light our own way," which I think is particularly poignant for solar deployment. Again, thank you for allowing all of us here to present to you today, and I hope there's lots of questions and generating a lot of interest. So, thank you very much for your time. I yield the virtual floor back to James.
>>James Jensen: Thanks so much, John. Excellent presentation. We do have a few questions for you that I'll forward to you, understanding that you have to leave early today. But we appreciate your time, and you'll see those over e-mail.
With that, we'll move on to Arash's presentation. Arash, we'll bring your slides up and you can proceed.
>>Arash Moalemi: Yeah. Okay, thank you, James. I want to thank James and the other panelists and participants in this great webinar. My presentation is going to focus – and I think based on the topic of workforce development. So, just to give you an overview, NTUA Generation Inc. is the development arm of NTUA, the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority, which is an enterprise of the Navajo Nation. So, it's created by the Navajo Nation government to provide utility services when essentially the federal government ignored the needs of the Navajo Nation as it relates to energy and water in the 1930s under the Electrification Act of 1932 or '34. So, that's kind of the general basis of how NTUA was created. And as time developed and the need for renewable energy was shown on the Navajo Nation, NTUA created NTUA Generation Inc., which is the development arm of NTUA. Next slide, please.
I just want to go over a little bit if folks aren't familiar with solar renewable energy. I just want to go over a slide briefly about what – the benefits of solar energy and renewable energy overall. So, solar does make a good neighbor. A solar facility will generate no emissions or odors or very minimal emissions or odors and will produce limited noise and have a low height profile. So, when you talk about aesthetics overall, when you talk about emissions and odors, solar is a good neighbor. It's low. It doesn't have any emissions. It doesn't have any odors. So, it has a lot of benefits as far as when we talk about being a good neighbor.
These are just photos overall of solar facilities. We – from the NGI perspective, our focus is development on a utility scale. It's called utility generation. So, the idea there is to build utility-scale generation plants, large solar generation plants, and either selling the energy to another purchaser of that power or using it for our own distribution system. So, for our facilities they're long, continuous rows of solar modules within a fenced-in perimeter. And those modules will be installed throughout the project site.
The technology now, the modules are expected to rise no more than six to ten feet above ground, depending on the angle or rotation. So, if you have it in stowed position, which is the flat position, it's about six to seven feet. And the idea is for the solar modules to follow the direction of the sun.
While visible from the adjacent road, the solar project is expected to have minimal impacts on the visual landscape from a distance. So, you'll see solar plants out there, but at the same time, they're not large, they're not high, but you will see the reflection slightly from the solar plants overall.
The other area is just energy storage and other facilities, which we're not really focusing on, so I'll just skip over that. Next slide, please.
So, as it relates to workforce development, the strategy for NGI and NTUA is – since – we're an enterprise of the Navajo Nation created for the benefit of our Navajo people, and one of our big objectives is the creation of jobs through project development, the creation of jobs through energy development. Okay? So, many times our initiatives and objectives are different than that of the outside world, outside the Navajo Nation or reservations in that when you have a 47.8 percent unemployment rate on the Navajo Nation, when you have a per capita income of $10,800.00 or so, you need to find ways to create jobs for your people close to home. One of the big challenges we face on the Navajo Nation is we have our brothers, our sisters, our grandmas, our grandpas, aunts and uncles traveling to border towns or traveling to large metropolitan areas for jobs. So, essentially, what they'll do is Sunday night they'll pack up for work on Monday, let's say in Salt Lake City. They'll work out of a hotel or do their work in a different area. And then on Friday they'll come back home to be with their families. So, during that time they're going to be away from their kids, from their family members.
So, what we try to do and one of our big objectives is to create jobs on the Navajo Nation. So, this is just a portfolio of the jobs, of the projects we've done so far. Kayenta I is a 27-megawatt solar generation plant that went into service in April of 2017. It's located in the Arizona portion of the Navajo Nation. Kayenta II is phase two of the project, a 28-megawatt project. It went into service in August of 2019. Drew Solar is a 100-megawatt solar project. We expect that to be in service by the end of '22. And we have a Red Mesa solar project in the Utah portion of the Navajo Nation, which is a 72-megawatt solar plant, which has an in-service date of January to March of 2023. And then, we have the Cameron solar project, which is a 200-megawatt solar project, estimated to be in service in winter of 2024. And then, the LeChee solar project plus battery storage. We expect that to be in service in the winter of 2025.
So, you can see by the dates of our projects they essentially are staggered in increments over time. So, the idea and one of our strategies – and I think this could be a strategy for other developers on tribal areas is the majority of the jobs created through utility-scale solar projects is through construction. And for example, Keyanta I took approximately – I think it took approximately 18 months to build. So, the idea is to have our workforce complete a project, and if they want to, they can essentially start on the next project – for example, Keyanta II – and work in August of 2019. So, we want a mobilized workforce that can go from job to job on the Navajo Nation or near the Navajo Nation so that they can reap the benefits of being close to their home and being on their own nation as a whole. Next slide.
This is a case study for the projects that I – or, the first two projects that I just mentioned, the NTUA Solar Kayenta I and Kayenta II projects. So, this – the combined size of these projects is 55 megawatts. And just to show you the interest in the employment opportunities on the Navajo Nation and other reservations, we didn't know if we would fill – one of the big concerns with the developers is "Do you have the workforce in the area?" So, on most tribal nations we're in remote areas. Kayenta is a remote area. And that was one of the concerns of the developers in NTUA initially: "Do we have enough workforce that can build this project?" So, at the local chapterhouse we had our first job fair and we had over 550 individuals attend the job fair and wait in line for – since 4:00 AM to fill out an application. So, with that we knew – and we know that our Navajo people and other tribal members are interested in working, and we have the workforce available and skilled workers on our tribal nations.
So, for this – these projects there were 434 construction jobs created. As Mr. Red Cloud mentioned, one of the key components is job training and apprentice programs. So, the benefits of these types of renewable energy projects is you can teach your workforce on the job. You can provide the specialized job training on the job, and that's what we did for this project. So, over 7000 hours of specialized job training was provided, so these individuals were getting paid as well as getting a specialized skill while performing their duties. So, of the 434 construction jobs created, 90 percent went to Navajo citizens. Okay? And I think that's key right there when you have such a high unemployment rate, when you can hire 90 percent of your workforce being tribal members, that it goes to the core component of what you're trying to do, is create jobs for your tribal members.
For solar, for utility-scale generation plants and solar plants there's not a high number of permanent, full-time jobs. They're generally O&M jobs. So, 100 percent of the workforce operating the two plants right now are Navajo citizens, and that's 3 permanent full-time jobs that have been created. Okay?
These are just some other facts overall with these projects. From a tribal perspective, one of the challenges that specifically the Navajo Nation faces is we're 27,000 square miles and we have a large footprint and we still have about 14,500 homes without electricity. So, the profit and the margin that's derived from these types of projects, they're actually brought back and put back into the utility to connect homes to the electric grid. Okay. And in addition, they allow for infrastructure to be built in your areas. So, with this project we had to build a substation and some of the project derived from the – I mean, from the proceeds we were able to connect seven homes to the electric grid.
Some of the benefits to the actual Navajo Nation: The construction sales tax generated over $5 million in taxes to the Navajo Nation. And as part of these projects I think one of the key components is community benefits, and for these projects there's 4 scholarships and 2 internships annually, which equate to 100 scholarships and 50 internships over the life of the project. Okay?
So, when we talk about workforce development, when we talk about unemployment, the total payment for Kayenta I and Kayenta II was $10 million and it generated over $30 million in economic activity in the Kayenta region. And we got that $30 million number from the multiplier and rollover study done by Arizona State University and Northern Arizona State University. Next slide.
This is the project that – this is another case study of a project that's currently under construction right now. So, this project is – the majority is fully owned by the Navajo Nation through NGI. So, the direct benefits to the Navajo Nation and the Red Mesa Community – once again, we talk about workforce development – we created 434 construction jobs with the Kayenta I and Kayenta II plants. Now we're going to Red Mesa and approximately 250 to 300 construction jobs will be created with a projected salary payroll of $6.2 million. So, just to give you an idea of right now, the most updated report that I got, there's 146 workers on the site, of which 90 percent are Navajo tribal members. So, that's the opportunity for our tribal members and other tribal members to work close to home and get a good paycheck each week to help their family.
And just to talk about the rural factor on tribal nations, this project is in Red Mesa, Utah. Of all the projects that we've built so far, this is the most rural project, in that there is not a large even tribal community close by within approximately 60 miles. However, we're still able to fully fill all of the open positions that are necessary to build the project. So, that just goes back to the desire for our tribal members to work and be a strong workforce that we have on tribal nations.
The projected construction period is 12 months. So, we'll have workers on the site for 12 months. Over 330 people attended the one-day, drive-up, COVID-safe job fair, once again just showing the desire that – and the interest in workforce development on the Navajo Nation and other tribal nations.
Three permanent full-time jobs are going to be created. And this project will create and provide 50 scholarships and 25 internships for students within the Red Mesa community over the life of the project.
One of the things that we talk about here as it relates to job workforce development is the ability for the individuals to have these specialized skills that they learn on the job, but also the ability for these individuals to get promotions and be promoted as part of their roles within the company. So, we do have a report of individual tribal members being promoted and looking to be brought on full-time for other types of projects in the area or off the area. So, that gives them additional opportunities. Next slide.
This is just our next project. Once again, another case study. Similar – this is the Cameron solar project, 200-megawatt solar project that is currently under contract and in the RFP stages. So, we expect to bring this project online in late 2024. Same idea here: the creation of jobs. The idea here is once the Red Mesa job is complete or near complete we want some of that workforce to be transferred over to the Cameron project. So, the locations of the project, there are about two and a half hours' drive between the projects. But when you talk about rural tribal nations, that is not a significant commute. We have workers that commute three hours a day at our utility company and it's just something that you do overall. So, you have these opportunities. So, this project will create 400 solar construction jobs with a projected salary payroll of $8.3 million.
Same idea here overall. And I just want to focus on the fact that when I talk about the jobs created this is just for the construction of the solar plant itself. The other components of the project, i.e., the construction of the substation, the construction of the transmission line, the design and engineering of all of these components, they're not included in this number. So, this number is actually pretty small relative to the total number of jobs created as a result of the project and would result in a higher projected salary payroll.
And as I mentioned before, the unique nature of tribal nations and the need for infrastructure is key, so with all or most of our projects we need to build a substation as a component of a project. And since we are a utility company, we can actually connect homes and electrify homes off of the substation we build. Okay? So, for this project we're going to build a substation in Cameron Chapter. One of the unique things about this project is we're next to – if you're not familiar with the area, there is a large amount of transmission lines and large-scale substations in the area because it's near the Navajo Generating Station. And for over 60 years that power that's being created at the Navajo Generating Station has gone off the Nation. And you have Navajo homes and Navajo people that essentially the transmission goes over or near – over their home and they still are out of – they still are not connected to the electric grid. Okay? So, with this project we don't service the territory of the – with the utilities for this project; however, when we build that substation we will be able to electrify those homes for the first time ever. So, that's an exciting thing and an ancillary benefit for these types of projects, is we can electrify homes through the building of infrastructure related to these projects. Next slide.
And this is another project. This is our largest project. This is the LeChee solar project, a 400-megawatt solar plant. So, we're looking at 300 to 650 construction jobs over a 24-to-26-month period. So, if you look at the timeline from beginning to where we're at now, that's about – on average for each project about 300 to 400 for each project and over an 8-year period. So, all of these projects are under contract. These aren't under development; these are under contract. So, for eight years we should have a rolling workforce of approximately 300 to 400 jobs, construction jobs. For this project there's 10 to 12, 10 to 20 full-time jobs that will be created, since it's a battery storage project, and it would be related to O&M.
On the environmental side – I know this isn't an environmental presentation but for these types of projects and this specific project approximately 51,000 gigawatt-hours of solar energy is produced over the life of this project, and that equates – and the carbon reduction is equal to planting 250 million trees or removing almost 260,000 cars from the road every year. So, with project and tribal development we're creating jobs and we're also providing environmental benefits for ourselves and our kids and our grandchildren. Next slide.
This slide is related to benefits to the Navajo Nation, obviously the tribal nations. One of the – these are just takeaways. I think one of the key takeaways, at least from our perspective, lessons learned, is tribal ownership of projects. Tribal nations can demonstrate sovereignty and control by maintaining majority ownership of projects. So, one of our key components and drivers is we want to be majority-owned of the project for the benefit of the Navajo Nation. Lessons learned with the Navajo Generating Station, with Peabody Coal Mine, with all these other projects whereby the nation was essentially lessors but didn't have an ownership in the project and thereby didn't have any real say in how the projects were developed or reclaimed.
Another key component is jobs and specialized job training, as I've mentioned. So, we anticipate between 1000 and 1350 construction jobs will be created over the next 3 years and about 3000 to 5000 will be created over the next 6 years.
Sales tax revenue. I think that's also important for revenue generators for tribal nations. So, when we build a project on a tribal nation I believe most tribal nations have a sales tax component, a tribal sales tax component or construction tax. So, we think that's important to – for the tribe to capture that benefit to increase their overall revenue and exercise sovereignty as it relates to overall operation of the tribe. Next slide.
And lease and transmission revenue, that's specifically tailored to NTUA and the Navajo Nation, but you're going to get some of this transmission revenue through projects. And at least for purposes of NTUA, the revenue generated by the NTUA renewable energy projects stay on the Navajo Nation. Since we are an enterprise of the nation, that money stays on the Nation. A lot of times, at least for the Navajo Nation, our Navajo people earn our money – we make money and we earn money on the Navajo Nation but we spend it all in border towns. We spend it all off the nation in big cities, and they reap the benefits of sales tax, of jobs, of other infrastructure benefits. And we come back to the Nation and essentially we have our goods but, really, the money isn't staying on the Nation. It's going off the Nation. With these projects the revenue is coming back onto the Nation and staying on the Nation to help keep electric rates low and to electrify homes. And next slide.
And lastly, this is the – for the Navajo Nation, President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer signed the Háyoolkáál Proclamation, and that proclamation states that the Navajo Nation will pursue and prioritize clean, renewable energy development for the long-term benefit of the Navajo people. And the proclamation is based on four principles: cultivating a diverse energy portfolio; restoring the land and water; rural electrification of homes; and development of utility-scale renewable energy projects. And with that I'm done with my presentation.
>>James Jensen: Thank you much, Arash. Thank you. A wonderful presentation. Congratulations on the pipeline of solar projects. It's impressive and it's valuable for our audience to see the benefits of that – both of these projects and the nature of them and the surge in construction jobs and then the comparatively small long-term employment, but that's still substantive. So, thanks for sharing that. We really appreciate it. And we do have some questions for you at the end of the webinar.
With that, Gene, we'll pull up your slides and you'll be next.
>>Gene Quinn: Okay. Good morning, everyone. I want to thank you for giving us an opportunity to share the success with – here at Aha Macav Power. First slide, please.
Okay. Since the first meter was set there have been many obstacles overcome here at Aha Macav Power. In September of 1991 the Mojave County board of supervisors voted to delay the action of the franchise agreement for the proposed FMIT power company until a committee can be formed to investigate the impact of the new utility on the area. Mojave Electric Co-op, MEC, provided power to the entire South Valley area, and has power poles located on the reservation land, and they expressed concern that the new utility would make expansion by MEC difficult if they were no longer allowed to place utility poles on tribal land. In December of 1991, after a long legal disagreement, it was resolved and the franchise agreement was granted, and the right of way was awarded to Aha Macav Power.
Aha Macav Power, AMPS, was created in June of 1991 by the Fort Mojave Indian Tribal Council. Our first customer meter set was completed in February of 1992 in the Mesquite Street subdivision. This was our first underground distribution circuit in the area. The tribal linemen that we employed here at Aha Macav Power completed the merchant journeyman certification. Our linemen consist of three tribal linemen journeymen and one apprentice journeyman – or, apprentice lineman. These linemen, when they first started working for Aha Macav Power there was a job posting down at the tribal HR administration and the three members applied for the job. They first started working with the contracts to build the Claude Lewis Substation on the Arizona side of the river. They also worked with Sturgeon Electric to build a transmission line into the substation. Each of them completed certification and went on as a full-time employee with the knowledge and skills and ability to work on high-voltage electrical lines with this power utility that has opened an opportunity for future tribal members to learn skill with a professional high-paying career. The program for – the merchant program that we are signed up with is a four-year apprenticeship program. The next slide, please.
The merchant program consists of 8000 hours on-the-job training. The job training consists of a series of tests that require home study. The book work each year requires the apprentice to complete nine chapters of the study. And all test scores must be 70 percent in order to advance to the next step. Next slide, please.
Ability to use the equipment associated with working on high-voltage electrical lines and apparatus safely. Before the crew starts a project, the crew will complete a job briefing, tailboard discussion to ensure personnel knows the task to perform the job safely. Our line department is required to be on call 24/7. We rotate each lineman weekly who are on call. AMPS provides a safety and training to all our personnel. This is done on a monthly basis with ESCI safety training and wellness services. And we also do that with the City of Needles Line Department as well, which helps offset the cost of providing that safety services. Some of the topics that are provided for the safety would be our bucket rescue, our CPR first aid, our substation safety, our OSHA 30 training, our switching and clearances, et cetera, are just a few. Nex slide.
Here I've got a picture of our one line of AMPS's solar system that's been added to our one line on all our circuits that feed into two of our substations, the No Name Substation and the Nora McDowell Switchyard. Next slide, please.
Here we have a picture of a line that we build to the City of Needles. They were in need of bringing in another transmission circuit to the city. They only had one transmission feed. Western WAPA came to us and provided the funds to build the line. Our linemen built the line and we strung all the wire and we connected it into the substation over on the California side of the river. Next slide, please.
Mojave Electric Cooperative, MEC, was providing power to the entire Southy Valley area and has power poles located on the reservation land. We actually – there was a hard sell to be able to get our power company off and moving because of the fact that they thought we would infringe on them and not be able to provide power to the South Valley, which they actually were able to move forward and make this happen with the tribe. They finally agreed for the right of way and it was resolved in 1991. Next slide.
AMPS service territory was limited in the amount of capacity. Our transmission line, the capacity of AMPS growth, the utility work with Western Area Power, WAP, was a problem for transmission capacity into this service territory. In November 1991 AMPS's first substation was energized. The substation was the Claude Lewis substation. And we transferred the existing customers from AMPS to the new Colorado River substation, energized the Nevada project with the Avi Casino being online as well as the Fort Mojave Indian Tribal Authorities water well and sewer lift stations. This project brought a bright-looking future for the tribal enterprise. In June of 2005 AMPS energized the No Name Substation and provided 25-kV distribution power circuit to Arizona, California villages and the farmlands in the South Valley. The 69-kV feed came from Southwest Transmission Cooperative, Southwest TransCo, out of the Tubac Substation. Next slide, please.
This slide depicts our crew at work on the 69-kV line and some of our equipment that we use to be able to perform our job duties with the line department. Next slide, please.
AMPS currently services power in three states: Arizona, Nevada, and California. AMPS has one transmission feed crossing the Colorado River and three distribution feeds. And we also own about 18.5 miles of transmission line in Nevada.
Nevada – this was the old BIA line that we used to feed off of. The line was built in 1943 and man of the structures showed wear and tear as the years went by. It has been a reliable line serving Fort Mojave Indian Reservation, and under emergency conditions several communities in the area also were served. But nearing the end of its useful service life in October 7th of – October of 2007, AMPS had the 69-kV line rebuilt from Davis Dam to the Nora McDowell Switchyard Substation. In 2008 Western Power Administration, WAPA, proposed to build a 69-kV transmission line between the existing Aha Macav Power services, the No Name Substation to promote – propose Firehouse Switchyard in the City of Needles. The 69-kV transmission line was constructed on a single steel pole. It's approximately 3.5 miles in length, crossing the Colorado River. Western funded the project and AMPS's line crew built the circuit and the AMPS right away. Next slide, please.
Here we have a picture of the rebuilt from David Dam to the Nora McDowell Substation. Next slide, please.
This pic is our No Name Substation. We have never named it yet; we're kind of waiting. But I'm just showing you in this pic that this is where our solar field is tied into our bus work on our – from our solar field into the substation. We also – in 2005 we converted all our oil hydraulic reclosures to vacuum reclosures for the upgrade. We got rid of our oil reclosures. Next slide, please.
On February 2018 AMPS moved forward for a solar feasibility study submitted by Stockbridge Energy Group. We believe the proposed solar system was a great first step towards tribal energy independence. This 2.1-megawatt system was completed in September of 2020. This will produce approximately 3.9 megawatts of power, which will help reduce the tribe's dependency on the outside power market providers. The 2.3-megawatt phase one solar project is applying power to the AMPS system, which offsets a portion of the tribe's hydro energy needs. The 2.3-megawatt system itself, Aha Macav Power Service supports the additional power supply for the Fort Mojave Indian Reservation, including the Avi Resort and Casino. It also has 714 residential homes and 290 commercial businesses, plus the tribe's 26 irrigation pumping stations, irrigating 12,000 acres of farming land. Overall, the Fort Mojave 2.3-megawatt solar system phase one project has strengthened the economy reliance, workforce development, and be more self-sufficient from the electrical grid.
AMPS is pursuing another phase two construction solar grant through the Economic Development Administration, EDA, with another 2.3-megawatt second phase solar field. The reservation will benefit, receiving lower-priced energy costs, clean, renewable energy to decrease financial burden, high utility bill cost, and revitalizing the tribal economy through the creation of new skills, labor jobs.
AMPS's system mileage, summary of infrastructure – in closing, AMPS's system mileage summary: Transmission lines, we have 20.5 miles of transmission. Our primary overhead distribution is 87.47 miles and our primary underground distribution is 16.89 miles. Next slide, please.
This is a picture of our first solar site tied into our No Name Substation. As you can see, we've got around 22 more acres that we can fill in on the farmland located off Reservation Road in Mountain View here in Mojave Valley, Arizona. Next slide, please.
Our continuing growth in solar: We're looking at our phase two, which will pick the same location to the west of our first completed phase one project. And our phase three, as you can see on the graph, will be our phase three that we want to eventually have battery backup on that solar phase three project for the future. And we would like to – the tribe would like to pursue forward on being totally self-sufficient from the grid in the future. Next slide, please.
And I want to thank James and the whole group for allowing Aha Macav to present this project, or this seminar for you. Thank you.
>>James Jensen: Thanks so much, James. I appreciate the perspective and the Aha Macav success story of developing the ability and tribal workforce as well as moving into a solar future. That's good to see.
With that, we'll move on to our last presentation from Stephanie Bostwick. We'll bring up your slides, Stephanie, and after your presentation we'll likely have a few minutes for Q&A. So, please submit any written questions you have. And go ahead, Stephanie.
>>Stephanie Bostwick: Hello, everyone. My name is Stephanie Bostick. I'm Blackfeet and I live in Bellingham, Washington, and I've worked for the Lummi Nation at Northwest Indian College and as part of their solar task force since early 2019. So, I'm going to talk about Lummi's vision for energy sovereignty and where we've gone so far and where we're going. Next slide, please.
So, I'll just give you a quick background of Lummi Nation location and population size and then talk through just how we made a vision for energy sovereignty, what different grants we've applied for and received, and how we've integrated that with the education programs that we offer at Northwest Indian College. Next slide.
So, on the right of that map you can see – sorry, on the right you can see a map of the reservation, which despite being close to Bellingham proper is a relatively small community. The population, I believe, is around 6600 at the moment. And in the upper right there you can see some of the buildings I'm going to talk about. You can see Northwest Indian College, the health clinic, the admin building, and Head Start, which is our early learning center. And then, on the south end of the map there you can see the Wex'liem, which is the community building, and Lummi Nation School is that K-12 school that's marked on the map there, which is where we do a lot of our outreach. And just for a brief history of the college, it started as a school of aquaculture but now we are a bachelor's-offering institution serving over 100 different tribes and we've got 7 campus locations. Next slide.
So, recognizing that a lot of planning and energy was put into this prior to my starting in 2019, I'm just going to walk through the timeline from there forward because that's really when we got moving on some of these grants and projects. So, everything started in the late fall of 2019 when there was a meeting organized by Spark Northwest, which is a local nonprofit out of Seattle. And Spark really helped Lummi Nation get going on the first couple of grant applications, which is kind of what they do with tribal technical assistance to show people how to kind of prioritize your list of opportunities and then start applying for funds. And Lummi Indian Business Council then passed a resolution to start a solar task force, which I've been part of since that time, and we've really taken the grant process and moved forward with applying for the future grant opportunities and planning for the Nation. And I'm happy to say that we recently changed our name to the Energy Task Force to say solar is not the only thing that we need to move toward sovereignty, so we're going to start looking at other opportunities as well. Next slide.
So, again, Spark Northwest really helped us get going on the first couple of solar installation grants that you see there. Just this year we were able to get about a million dollars in funding for solar installation grants, so we've come a long way since our first couple of applications. But once we completed those first couple of grants, the task force really took over applying for funds and moving forward. And we applied for these to complete two microgrid feasibility studies. You see one here for Lummi Nation and then I'll talk about the one we've done at the college. But we started thinking about resilience and future sovereignty, and that's where the microgrid studies were integrated into the work that we were doing. As we applied for funds, we really made sure that the college was integrated into what Lummi Nation was doing. So, next slide.
So, here are the grants that Northwest Indian College has applied for and received at the same time. So, we've been able to integrate our students into the microgrid feasibility studies, both for Lummi Nation and the college by paying them as interns to work with our contractor, to learn the process, and be able to take that back to their communities and do similar work. We also followed the lead of Red Cloud Renewable and applied for funding to build a mock roof and do a train the trainer program at our college. We're not yet NABCEP-certified like they are, but we're working toward that. And then, we also have done a lot of youth engagement with Lummi Nation school. We've got solar suitcase kits that we take over to them and I'll talk more about those in a minute. And we also do travel to other tribal colleges and reservations with a mobile solar trailer that we have. So, we've really been integrating the workforce piece, the education piece with the work that's being done at Lummi. Next slide.
So, when I was asked to start the engineering program at Northwest Indian College, I really thought about the existing engineering programs at tribal colleges and how typically students end up sort of leaving the community to get a job in what the studied, and I wanted to build a program that allowed students to stay in their community and serve their communities. So, the program from the start was focused on renewable energy and energy sovereignty so that the students can help plan and design the future of their communities. And in parallel, we started building that workforce program so that we'd have the folks to build, install, and maintain the systems as well. And what's really great about our systems is our engineering students learn on the same systems that our workforce systems learn on – workforce students learn on so that they really understand the technologies and the construction of the different pieces.
So, it's a very hands-on program and hopefully moving toward being able to train up the designers, the workforce so that tribal folks can so all of the work. And the real goal there is to make sure that when that funding is coming in that it stays within the tribe and that the tribe can choose how and what to do versus outsourcing everything, which is sort of what happens when people get solar installation grants or microgrid feasibility study grants. That work gets outsourced. So, hoping to keep that money and those jobs and really being able to have the community make the decisions about how it's done and what is done. Next slide.
So, again, we do a lot of outreach with K-12 through Lummi Nation School. You can see there in the center a picture of the solar suitcase kits that we use. On the left there are the solar water pump kits that we use in the engineering program and also when we do outreach to different tribal communities. And on the right are kits that we work with the NASA AREN Project on. Those collect wind data for students so that they can look at wind as a resource as well.
With those kits in the center, the solar suitcase kits that the K-12 students assemble, once those are put together those are basically a small off-grid kit that can be donated to elders in the community so those elders can then have something in case of an emergency to have lighting and cell phone charging and small loads like that. Next slide.
So, our workforce education right now includes solar installation training. It says "in process" but we actually just completed our mock roof and did our first two trainings. So, you can see there our second installation training that happened. We have a huge waitlist. The first training we trained 8 individuals and the second we had 12 and I still have a waitlist of about 15 people who want to participate. We've had elders join our trainings, which is just so amazing to see because they're just really excited about solar in the community. So, this has been a really great program and we have plans to add a ground-mount array next to this mock roof and also to incorporate batteries in the future. Because of those microgrid feasibility studies, we know that we're going to need battery backup on a lot of our critical buildings, so we're going to incorporate that in the training as well.
And we've worked with all the local installers to basically say that for any future contract that you have with Lummi Nation you will bring our students on the roof with you. So, anybody who's completed this mock roof training is actually getting access to employment opportunities, and the local installers are looking to hire several individuals, so it's a really awesome program that's actually putting people into jobs. Next slide.
So, in the future we're again planning on adding battery banks and more solar arrays based on the output of that microgrid feasibility study. Another thing that I didn't add here is that Lummi Nation is looking at forming a tribal utility commission, so we're doing a study on that right now to see the feasibility. And we're also looking that that biosolids site for adding additional solar generation and potentially wind. And just continuing to grow that engineering and workforce by adding to the programs and making sure that our students have training opportunities that support the work that the Nation is doing so that we're able to give our students those jobs versus outsourcing all of that funding. Next slide.
So, that's the Lummi Nation School solar installation, which was our first after we started all of this funding. So, super proud of that and how far we've come since the beginning. So, any questions? I think we're now opening it up to everyone for all the questions. So, thank you.
>>James Jensen: Thank you, Stephanie. Excellent presentation and nice perspective on how you started from projects into workforce development and then into educational programs. That's pretty cool.
So, with that, we do have time for Q&A now. We do have some questions that have been submitted, but we should time for more, so please do submit any written questions that you have and we'll likely get a chance to address them. So, let's get started here.
The first couple questions we had were for John Red Cloud and he has stepped away, so we'll get those questions answered via e-mail with him directly. Question for you, Arash. You showed your multiple projects on the Navajo Nation, but where is the energy going for most projects? Is that serving the Nation or is this sold to outside utilities? Can you elaborate a little bit?
>>Arash Moalemi: Yeah, sure. For the first two plants in operation, the Kayenta plants, that energy is being sold or produced on the – is being used on the Navajo Nation and consumed on the Navajo Nation. For the other plants, the one we're building in Utah, the 72-megawatt plant, we are actually selling that energy to communities in Utah, and then the profit and the margin is coming back to NTUA and we're utilizing those funds to electrify homes on the Navajo Nation.
And then, our Cameron solar project as well, our Cameron and LeChee project will be export projects as well, whereby we're selling off the Nation and the funds and the profit will be brought back onto the Navajo Nation to electrify homes and keep our utility rates stable.
>>James Jensen: Excellent. Thanks, Arash. Another question, a little bit off-topic for you but can you talk about the environmental impacts of large-scale utility solar? Were there any major mitigations you had to do. Or, can you just elaborate on environmental permitting?
>>Arash Moalemi: On the environmental side we go through the normal – on the tribal side we go through the normal environmental statement and FONSI process. We have to get biological clearance, cultural clearance, archeological clearance. I think some of the most challenging overall is the – the most sensitive is to make sure that we recognize all culturally sensitive sites and make sure that we avoid those, and we go through an extensive process with that, as well as on the biological side.
As far as the actual environmental effects of, for example, a solar project, the majority of the material is some type of steel or metal, silica or sand in glass. So, we haven't seen any – from our studies – any real environmental impact to the area that would cause issues in the future when we talk about reclamation or so. I don't know if that's a question, but I just want to raise those two when we talk about the environmental impacts of these types of projects.
>>James Jensen: Excellent. Thank you, Arash. This is a question for you, Stephanie. The STEM kits you talked about, can you elaborate on what they were or what they are in a little bit more detail and where they were produced or where they come from?
>>Stephanie Bostwick: The solar suitcase kits – I'm assuming it's that question. I'm not sure if it was the water pumps. I can talk about both. The solar suitcase kits come from a group called We Share Solar. So, we actually partnered with Remote Energy on a lot of our training curriculum, and they've worked with We Share Solar in the past with those suitcases. So, they're basically a suitcase-sized kit that the students assemble. There's a small solar panel and the students kind of hook up all the wiring to make sure that the solar energy goes direct to the little charging ports, and there's a little lightbulb that lights up. So, they're just kind of a K-12-friendly, hands-on kit. The students get to do the assembly and the troubleshooting and testing of the kit.
And then, the solar water pump kits are essentially a very low-cost pump and a bucket from Home Depot and a small solar module, and students basically do a lot of testing with digital multimeters with those kits. And they can kind of see – if they face the panel toward the sun, they can measure how many gallons per minute get pumped. And then, they can do little experiments of blocking part of the panel or turning it away from the sun or turning it toward the ground. And they can take the different measurements to understand how does the solar energy work so that they can better design systems.
>>James Jensen: Excellent. Thanks, Stephanie. Another question for you: What was the tipping point there at Lummi Nation with tribal leadership to take the initiative to pursue energy sovereignty?
>>Stephanie Bostwick: I think it really was kind of at that community meeting. It was an all-day meeting where everybody was invited and there was just a lot of feedback from the community about being connected to PSE, Puget Sound Energy, or not being connected. There are several people in the community that don't have connection to the grid, so that was a concern. But also, just being able to generate clean energy. Here in Washington State a lot of – a large portion of our energy comes from hydro, and those dams are really impacting salmon. And Lummi being a salmon people who basically have survived off of that as a primary food source since the beginning of time, we're like "Well, we should really do something to choose where our energy is coming from and being able to control and maintain it."
And I think the last point that I'll say is kind of similar to any other tribal community. When you have power outages you tend to be the last to get power restored. So, that idea of having the sovereignty and being able to do your own generation and managing that and making sure that during an outage your critical facilities are able to be powered and that you're able to support the community, that's really important. And you don't really have control over that when you're using the utility.
>>James Jensen: Excellent. Thanks, Stephanie. Another question here, and I think it's probably directed to you, Arash, but are there tribal environmental trainings that are needed? Or do you conduct any during the permitting process? Or, I guess, maybe it's more aligned with – and I'm sorry, I'm trying to rephrase it or understand the question. But what sort of environmental outreach or tribal outreach is there for these larger utility-scale projects to the tribal memberships so they're comfortable with the environmental side of it?
>>Arash Moalemi: Yeah. That's a good question. I think that's an important question for our larger-scale projects. What we generally do – I'll just give you the overall process what we do, which is when we look at developing a project we first consult with the local community, with the local chapter. They're called chapters in the Navajo Nation. And we work with them to identify areas for potential development. They provide us valuable input on culturally sensitive sites based on their history and experience. And once we identify an area, what we do is we reach out to the grazing rights permitting holders in that area to get permission to build a project, and they have to consent. So, we can't – we don't do eminent domain. We have to actually go to the local permitting holders and obtain consent.
Once we do that, we've got to get the local community's approval through a chapter-supporting resolution. And then, at that point we can begin the studies. And as I mentioned earlier, the studies that we have to do is the archeological studies to make sure there's no archeological artifacts or anything related to such. We do the biological [audio cutout] cultural – biological resource compliance whereby we have to hire a [audio skip] with tribal lands and trust lands and the area, and they complete their study to see if there's any – there will be any biological impacts for the project, the development of the project.
If that's clear, we then go onto the cultural resource compliance portion, whereby we consult with – we have to put under contract a cultural specialist. And what their job is to do is they have to be in the field. They survey the area, they survey the site, they visit homes and families around the site, and they determine if there's any culturally sensitive sites around there. And that process actually takes quite a bit of time because it's very sensitive when we talk about the cultural sensitivities of each area. If they do identify a culturally sensitive area, we mark it off. And as part of our development of the project we – there's a certain buffer zone that we have to make sure we respect through the process. And then, we go through that.
So, those are the general studies that we have to go to – go through. In addition, for many of our projects we have to get an environmental impact statement study, and we get a finding of no significant impacts for our projects on the environmental side. So, that is an extensive process. Generally, for the larger-scale projects we've got to get a FONSI, and that's something that just is part of the process overall. So, we've got to hit all of those different areas before we can even look at building the site. And then, once those are all clear, the Navajo Nation has been delegated the authority to approve the lease to build the project. We get a lease from the Navajo Nation. And at that point we can begin the process for RFP'ing out for certain components of the project.
When you talk about development of solar on the utility scale, it is a – you look at Kayenta: It was a seven-to-eight-year process. So, it's not like we do these projects overnight. It's a long, drawn-out process. As we've gained more experience, as the Nation has gained more experience with these types of projects, they've been more expedited because we've got a framework, a template to work off of. But when you talk about just deciding and permitting of a project, on the environmental approvals, the biological and cultural, you're looking at at least three years to get through that project. And it's pretty extensive. So, I hope that provides some feedback to the attendees.
>>James Jensen: Excellent. Thanks so much for the answer and the perspective. Let's do one last question and close it out. And this kind of for any of the panelists that want to chime in, but from each of your perspectives, what do you see as the biggest challenge for increased tribal employment and these future energy jobs that we've been talking about? And you can just chime in as you're able to or want to.
>>Arash Moalemi: This is Arash. From my perspective, I think the biggest challenge – and we look at it – I look at it from a holistic level and a larger level – is that with the status of the land being in trust, and you talk about workforce development for larger-scale employment opportunities for tribal members, the difficulty and challenges in developing anything economically on the – on any tribal nation under trust land or commercially is a challenge. It's a deterrent. You have to have folks that are really dedicated, or business-minded folks that are really dedicated, or any type of developers that are really dedicated for these opportunities. And that's a challenge of even providing these opportunities on a Nation or tribal lands.
So, I think the status of the land is difficult in that it's just difficult – it's very restrictive in how you can develop, at least from my perspective, on tribal lands, and therefore you don't have job opportunities as you would in other communities. You look at an example from the Nation's perspective from a community called Page, Arizona, and there's also a community called LeChee, Arizona. Page is on the state land and LeChee is on the tribal land. You have a great tourist attraction in Page with hotels and other amenities and food places, but on the LeChee side you don't have as much development. And I think that a lot of it has to do with the difficulties in developing on tribal trust lands.
>>James Jensen: Thank you. Does anybody else want to chime in with their perspective?
>>Stephanie Bostwick: Yeah, I'll add to that. I agree with what was just said. And I think in addition to that, not having a lot of tribal contractors or companies to provide those employment opportunities. And part of that is training the workforce – so, needing more workforce training in a lot of different areas to get kind of a group of folks trained up that could be hired by a tribal contractor.
>>James Jensen: Thanks, Stephanie. All right. One last opportunity for anyone else to chime in. Otherwise, we'll wrap up the webinar. All right. Hearing none, I want to thank all of our panelists for their participation and time today. We really appreciate that. And also, our attendees. Thanks for you interest and spending time with us today.
In general, we are very interested in any suggestions on how to strengthen the value of these webinars, so please do send us any feedback that you have. On our final slide here we show the schedule for the last webinar of the 2022 series. This webinar is titled "Tribes Leading the Way to a More Sustainable Energy Future." It will be held on December 7th, and all of our webinars are scheduled for 11:00 AM Mountain Time.
With that, this concludes the webinar for today. Thank you again for your interest and attendance. And we look forward to you joining us again on future webinars. Good day.
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As we transition to a new energy future, energy systems and technologies will change. These changes will require workers with different skills and knowledge. Tribes can take advantage of this transition by developing a tribal workforce with the skills necessary for these new jobs.
This webinar shares some of the programs and funding opportunities available to support applicable workforce development.