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The Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs (Office of Indian Energy) is growing and evolving. This webinar introduces (or reintroduces) the Office and its leadership and share information on offerings, opportunities, and resources available through the Office, including a demonstration of the wealth of informational resources on our website.
U.S. Department of Energy

The Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs (Office of Indian Energy) is growing and evolving. This webinar will introduce (or reintroduce) the Office and its leadership and share information on offerings, opportunities, and resources available through the Office, including a demonstration of the wealth of informational resources on our website.

Webinar Transcript

>>James Jensen: Welcome to everyone. I am James Jensen, today’s webinar host and the contractor supporting the Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs tribal energy webinar series. Today’s webinar titled Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs – How Can We Help? Is the first 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 shortly after this webinar. Everyone will receive a post webinar email with a link to the pages 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 webinar. You can submit a question at any time by clicking the question button located in the webinar control box on your screen and typing your question.  

Let’s get started with some opening remarks from Lizana Pierce. Miss Pierce is a senior engineer and deployment supervisor for the Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs at the duty station 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 develop energy resources for over 20 years. Miss Pierce holds a Bachelor 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, the first of the 2022 series. This series is sponsored by the Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs otherwise referred to as the Office of Indian Energy. Specifically the Office of Indian Energy is chartered by congress to promote Indian energy development, efficiency and use to help reduce or stabilize energy costs, enhance and strengthen Indian tribal energy and economic infrastructure, to bring electric power services to Indian lands and homes. To provide this assistance our deployment program partners with Indian tribes and Alaska native villages to overcome the barriers to energy development. The deployment program as James mentioned is composed 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 efforts. 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, 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 Powering Native Communities and Sustaining Future Generations is focused on changing the energy landscape and how tribes can position themselves to participate in the energy transition to benefit their communities and future generations. In this first webinar of the series we will take a close look at how the Office of Indian Energy is evolving to better support tribes during the transition to a more sustainable and resilient energy future. 

This webinar will introduce or reintroduce the office and its leadership and share information on offerings, opportunities and resources available through the Office of Indian Energy including in a demonstration of the wealth of informational resources on our website. There will also be polling questions ‘cause we want to hear from you. And we’ll have an extended Q&A session. So if you have questions you’d like to provide input or feedback on how the office can better serve you please do so. We do hope the webinar series, webinar and the series as a whole is useful to you so we welcome your feedback. So please let us know if there are ways we can make the series better. You can also send feedback to our main email at IndianEnergy@hq.doe.gov. 

So first I wanted to give you a brief overview of today’s agenda. First we have the presenters, David Conrad who is the deputy director for the Office of Indian Energy, myself, senior engineer and deployment supervisor and Dr. Tommy Jones, deployment specialist for the office. And you’ll hear from each of us. Next slide. So the agenda, first we’re going to go through some introductions and opening remarks. We’ll go through an overview of an Office of Indian Energy, briefly the priorities and the future going forward. We’ll have a series of polling questions and Tommy will give you some instructions before we start that. And we also wanted to take the opportunity to give you an overview of the website. There’s a tremendous amount of information there that hopefully is helpful to you. And then we want to hear from you. So as we go through please just put any questions you can think of in the chat or question box and we will answer those at the end of the presentation. Next slide please.

So first I wanted to introduce you to Wahleah Johns, director for the office. Unfortunately she’s on travel with the secretary of energy this week speaking with the Navajo nation and Hope tribal leaders. So she sent her regrets that she won’t be able to join us. But she joined the office about a year ago. She’s a member of the Navajo Dine tribe and comes from northeastern Arizona. Her background is in renewable energy and community organizing and she cofounded the national renewables, a nonprofit that builds renewable energy tribal capacity while addressing energy access. She also had worked with Black Mesa Water Coalition and the Navajo Green Economy Coalition has led to groundbreaking legislative victories for groundwater protection, green jobs and environmental justice. In 2019 she was awarded the Nathan Cummings Foundation Fellowship. And as I said unfortunately she won’t be able to be here with us today but hopefully we can have her on future webinar series. Next slide please.

Next we’re going to introduce David Conrad and I’m going to let him introduce himself. He’s the deputy director for the Office of Indian Energy. David it’s yours.

>>David Conrad: Thank you Lizana and welcome everybody to this webinar series. I first started in Indian Energy with a summer internship with the Council of Energy Resource Tribes in 1991 and then they through a cooperative agreement with the Department of Energy sent me to Washington DC to serve as a graduate student fellow in the office of environmental management which addresses defense related nuclear waste cleanup from the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile. And then over my career have stayed involved in tribal energy issues and natural resources, cultural resources, economic development. In 2010 to 2017 I was back at the Department of Energy. 

I served for four years as the director of tribal, city and county affairs in the Office of Congressional Intergovernmental Affairs. And then served as acting director and deputy director for the Office of Indian Energy from 2015 to 2017. So I am honored and grateful to be back. I’ve seen Indian energy at the Department of Energy grow and mature over the years and I think we’re at a historic moment where our growth and capacity and value to Indian country has never been greater. So I look forward to this webinar and questions that people have. Back to you Lizana.

>>Lizana Pierce: Thank you David. Next slide please. So James introduced me at the beginning. But I did want to say that I have had the honor and privilege of working with tribes for 22 years now. And so I’m grateful to be here and to continue to serve. Next slide. And Tommy I’m going to let you introduce yourself.

>>Tommy Jones: Hello everyone. My name is Tommy Jones and I’m from Jones, Oklahoma enrolled with Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma Naknek native village in Alaska and a native shareholder of Bristol Bay Native Corporation. Thank you everyone for being here to learn more about our program and hopefully we can have more engagement going forward with all of you. I started with the Office of Indian Energy first as an intern in 2014 with Sandia National Laboratories while I was completing my PhD. And when I finished my degree I began working in the Golden office in 2016. And about two years ago I transitioned over to being a federal employee. So now I’m the deployment specialist out here in Colorado and I do a lot of work with Lizana and funding opportunities and headquarters requests and things like that. But again thank you everyone for being here and I look forward to hearing some questions from folks. 

>>Lizana Pierce: Thank you Tommy. Next slide please. So as was advocated for by the tribes and was incorporated in the energy policy act of 2005 the Office of Indian Energy was actually set up at about 2011 as one of about a dozen assistant secretarial level offices in the department. And as I mentioned before the office authorized under that act is charged by congress to promote Indian energy development, efficiency and use, reduce or stabilize energy costs and enhance and strengthen Indian tribal energy and economic infrastructure as well as bring electric power and service to Indian lands and homes. And I do want to point out that you’ll see some pictures throughout this presentation of tribal projects that the office has been fortunate to have cofounded and assisted. I won’t go through each of the pictures here but they are diverse and really address the needs of whichever community. Next slide please. 

So we are a small office, extremely small compared to DOE office go. We are now comprised of about 14 federal staff which is 10 more than we had a couple years ago so we have grown fairly expansively over the last couple years during COVID. We do have staff duty stationed in Washington DC, Golden, Colorado and Anchorage, Alaska. But it is a national program. We also have some limited contractor support at headquarters and a contractor team in Golden, Colorado that supports the financial assistance, grants and agreements. For the competitive grants we also have a memorandum of understanding with DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency Renewable Energy to provide financial assistance, legal and NEPA support to the Office of Indian Energy. The office also receives support from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratory and other local technical assistance providers as well. Next slide please. So the office receives input directly from tribes, tribal leaders on a regular basis through the Indian Country Energy and Infrastructure Working Group or ICEIWG which again is comprised of tribal leaders across the nation to try to get diversity and input on the needs of tribes. Next slide please. 

And as we’ve mentioned we do have a three pronged approach, financial assistance through competitive grants, predominantly has been for hardware installations. More recently technical charge offered at no charge to Indian tribes and tribal entities and we’ll talk a little bit about that more in the slide deck. And education and capacity building. These three prongs are really to assist Indian tribes and tribal entities, overcome unique regulatory barriers, technical or economic challenges in developing their best energy resources and to try to meet tribes wherever they are in that development path. Next slide please. 

So since 2010 DOE’s Office of Indian Energy has invested over $114 million in more than 200 tribal energy projects across the continuous 48 states and Alaska. These with cost share are valued at over nearly $200 million. Through these grants the Office of Indian Energy continues its efforts to partner with native communities, to maximize the deployment of clean energy solutions for the benefit of American Indians and Alaskan natives. The deployment of energy projects in these communities has had some real tangible impacts which I’ll detail on a future slide. By the way this slide is a screen shot of our projects database which we’ll see later when we do the website overview. It’s an interactive map so you can zoom in, zoom out. You could find project summaries and information about each of those projects. Next slide please. Thank you Sam.

So this slide shows the distribution of project type and funding by year. Since 2010 the office focus as I said has been installing energy technology and infrastructure in communities for those immediate positive benefits to the people. As a result 75 percent of all funding has been invested in those deployment projects. Again projects to install new generation, reduce energy consumption, electrify homes to provide reliable operation such as through a microgrid. You’ll also see the amount of funds provided by year it’s gone up and down but it’s averaged out to about $95 million per year, relatively small amount. But it has made some real impacts in tribal communities and continues to provide benefits year after year for the life of those installed systems. Next slide. 

Oh by the way, these numbers do not include the recent announcement we had of the additional 14 projects we had last month now so they do go through 2021. So this slide shows the investments by technology type. Most funds thus far have been for the installation of renewable energy microgrid systems, energy efficiency measures and energy planning grants. We are seeing an increased interest in microgrids. Such systems can provide community autonomy, energy self-sufficiency, resiliency and allow the communities to impacts of climate change and allows them to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels and costs supporting those fuels. So a lot of interest on microgrids. This slide also shows some of the financial assistance grants by state at the bottom. Next slide please.

So as I said there’s been some real tangible results. Of the $114 million invested by the office 75 percent or over $85 million has been invested in energy hardware installations for those deployment projects. These projects with cost share collectively are worth $160 million and have resulted in tangible impacts for 100 American Indian and Alaskan native communities, specifically more than 43 megawatts of new generation, more than 10 megawatt hours of battery storage, over $13.7 million collectively saved every year and we estimate over $295 million saved over the life of those systems. So this equates to about savings of $3.50 for every dollar DOE has invested which is huge. And those projects have also affected over 8.600 tribal buildings throughout Indian country. 

I will highlight on this slide the pictures just to give you a sense of some of the projects. Starting from the top right we have Huslia Tribal Council who installed a community scale biomass project to heat their community buildings in 2018. And then going clockwise we have Soboba band of Indians who installed a one megawatt solar system and at the bottom right Rosebud Sioux who installed some solar on some low income homes on their reservation. The next picture on the lower left is Fort Mojave Indian Tribe and Aha Macav Power Services together installed a 2.3 megawatts solar system and I think this was just last year. And then at the top left we have the Alaska Village Electric Corporation, AVEC, who partnered with Bethel Native Corporation to install a 900 kilowatt turbine to power the communities of Bethel and Oscarville. Next slide please.

So I also wanted to let everybody know that we have an annual program review. We invite all the funded projects, usually 40 or 50 different tribal energy projects. You can hear from the tribes themselves about their projects and its pretty magical event. I think it’s kind of unique as well. Typically that’s held in November. But really it’s a forum for tribes to meet, meet with each other, to learn from each other, to share in their successes and also in their challenges and lessons learned. However we do open it up to all of Indian country because I think that’s important as well. So if you’re interested subscribe to our newsletter and you’ll find out more about that. Hopefully this year we’ll be in person. We’ve had to have that virtually the last couple years which doesn’t, it’s not quite the same. Anyway. Next slide please.

So obviously I cannot speak for the tribes but I do want to give you a sense of some of their projects because I think pictures tell a whole story. So shown here are a couple examples of projects by tribes in Colorado, Arizona, Nebraska and Alaska who have deployed energy technology in their communities. Again starting from the top right and going clockwise we have the Ute Mount Ute Tribe, Colorado who installed a one megawatt solar system. In the lower right San Xavier solar installation at their education building. That was in 2021. And then the lower left is a photo of Igiugig Village who has a 35 kilowatt RivGen system and with some Office of Indian Energy funds will add a battery and control their diesel systems and the RivGen water system you see there. And then in the upper left we have Wibbebago Tribe’s solar installation. Next slide please. Thank you Sam.

A couple more examples of projects, tribes in Arizona, Montana and Alaska deploying within their community. Starting from the top right and going clockwise we have here the Fort Mojave Tribe in Aha Macav Power Services as I said installed a 2.3 megawatt solar installation in 2020. And then the lower right you see Black Feet Community College recent 53.2 kilowatt solar system installed on their buildings in 2021. And to the right a photo of reflect a 670 kilowatt hour energy storage project recently installed by Nuvista Light and Electric Corps on the organized village of Kwethluk and that was in 2021. I haven’t done these justice I’m sure. However you can hear directly from some of these tribes at the program review tell their stories. Next slide please. 

And again just some more examples. Here we have tribes of Alaska, New York, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Colorado who have all deployed energy technology to meet their community needs including Seneca Nation, Rosebud Sioux, Chaninik Wind Group, Southern Ute and Husali Tribal Council. Next slide. Thank you Sam. Some more examples. Just the diversity here. You see Menominee Tribal Enterprise in the upper right. They put a biomass combined heat and power system in 2016. In the lower left we have Alaska village, in fact I think I talked about that one. That was in stalled in 2018. And then the center bottom you’ll see Fort Yukon installed a combined heat and power house and at the bottom is their new power house and the green building in the middle is their old one so radical difference for that community. And on the left top you see Pueblo of Picuris who installed a one megawatt solar system in 2017 and in the middle top NANA Regional Corp working with the villages of Buckland, Deering and Kotzebue installed solar system in 2018. They’re since added batteries and I believe they’ve gone to diesel part of the time. Next slide please.

So Tommy is going to do an overview of the website but I did want to give some information. There’s just tons of information on there. We have current funding opportunity page which includes offerings from DOE, from the Office of Indian Energy, from other agencies. And so check that out if you’re looking for stuff. I do know that DOE’s division of energy and mineral has two grants open now. One is for capacity building. The other is for energy and mineral resource assessments. I can’t remember. I think those may be due the end of this month but don’t quote me on that. But two ongoing opportunities as well as the many opportunities that are coming from the bipartisan infrastructure law. 

We also have a page for ongoing opportunities, funding opportunities, grant, loan, loan guarantees and other incentives, another page on the Office of Indian Energy prior funding opportunities so you can see some of the opportunities and the press releases from our prior funding grants opportunities. I would say that if you’re interested you can also subscribe to our e-newsletter on the main page at energy.gov/indianenergy to receive emails on funding opportunities, upcoming events and information resources that are available to you. Next slide please.

So this just shows information we have on the website on projects. I did show the interactive map. You can zoom in, zoom out and there’s also a sort of a database if you want to search. Each of the projects has a project summary and their presentations for the annual program review. If they’re completed they also include the final reports. Additionally there’s a sort of project success page that highlights and has stories on some of the projects. Next slide please.

So in additional to financial assistance the office also offers technical assistance at no cost to tribes and tribal entities. This could be providing technical advice, assisting with – with assistance from energy experts and local providers. These are designed really to help move your projects forward. They’re short term, relatively short term in nature and to really result in a tangible deliverable projects. So we do realize that tribes are at various stages of energy development. Could just be the beginning and wanting some facilitative assistance with creating a vision or strategic energy plan, help with quantifying your energy resources whether it be solar, wind and so forth all the way to the other end with interesting barriers to shovel ready project. 

The technical assistance supports tribes and communities regardless of where they are in this energy journey by providing technical and financial analysis or facilitating and assisting that energy planning. As I said it’s intended to be relatively short term to fulfill a specific need that you have and result in a tangible product or deliverable. You can submit technical assistance requests. Tribes, tribal representatives can submit technical assistance requests through the website by just answering a few simple questions. We’ll contact you and call you and have a dialogue to find out how we could best help you. Next slide please.

This is also on the website. It’s just a listing and a map. This one’s not interactive of the technical assistance requests completed to date. And I think right now we’re at about nearly 400 technical assistance requests we’ve completed for tribes. Next slide please. This is just some graphics on the technical assistance. Down at the bottom you’ll see the technical requests completed by state. A graph chart of those in the lower 48 and Alaska and then by type. Technical analysis which is a big one. Financial analysis, maybe help with economics or performance and the strategic energy planning and then all the things that don’t fit into the other groups. Next slide please. Thank you Sam.

So as I said a wealth of information. There’s a ton of different information or resources. We have an energy resource library, lots of different documents, guides, videos, etcetera. There’s also a curriculum both for tribal staff as well as tribal leaders for renewable energy so we have monthly webinars as well as periodic workshop. Additionally through the help of the National Renewable Energy Lab have also developed a tribal energy atlas which is an interactive geospatial tool to help you identify your resources and the infrastructure that you might need for your project. Next slide please. 

So in addition, outreach and communications we have a couple of listening sessions. Hopefully some of you were able to join. We had a funding and finance session in May of 2021. Pardon me. That information and the results are posted on the website as well. We’ve also had an energy access and reliability listening session because we were directed by congress to complete a report that was held in November. The information as well is on the website. Monthly webinars, there’s a lot of resources and information that we have over the years of different tribal projects. Each one has different resources and fundamental information as well as case studies given by the tribes who develop the projects. And then our email newsletter. Again if you’re interested you can subscribe or unsubscribe at any time. Next slide please. So just want to say that really our goal is to assist tribes in achieving whatever their energy vision may be. And next slide please.   

So obviously I will not be able to address sort of the goals and priorities that Director Jones has quite as effectively as she could but I will try to give you a sense of where we’re going. I think the goal really is for American Indians and Alaska Native Nations to really lead the transition to clean energy. There’s obviously lots of reasons, climate change being one and having sort of ownership of your energy resources as well. Some of the priorities that she came in with was to build the office and to build our capacity so we can obviously serve more tribes better, to ensure and to build and maintain nation to nation trust relationships and really focus on energy access and energy transition. And of course capacity building has been a barrier identified to us by tribes. So with tribal turnover there’s always a need for information and education and to try to increase the funding for our office which has basically doubled with the fiscal year 2022 appropriation. 

We had been for the last couple of years hovering around $20 million. 2022 appropriation came out at $58 million. So it’s a start. Not enough but it’s a start. And then obviously she wanted to focus on generation planning, longer term planning for tribes and how we might could assist with that. And then of course what it’s all about is your successful energy projects and lifting them up, making people aware. There’s the Justice 40 initiative by this administration to provide the benefits of 40 percent of all federal funds to communities, underserved communities including tribes. Next slide please. 

So some of the focus areas for the Office of Indian Energy is really to the best of our abilities within the funding we’re given to try to provide energy access for those families that don’t have any access to any electricity at this point as well as to convert tribal colleges and universities to 100 renewable and clean. We’ve had a few examples, Bighorn Community College as well as Blackfeet Community College both received competitive grant program funds to provide solar on their buildings. We want to reach all 37 tribal colleges and universities as well. And then of course continuing on with the project funding to help native communities transition to clean energy. So that’s kind of the three focus areas in addition to the education and outreach and so forth. Next slide please. 

So I just wanted to thank you. And at this point we’re going to get some polling questions because we want to hear from you, figure out how we can continue this dialogue to get you information. So I’m going to hand it off to Tommy Jones. Dr. Tommy Jones it’s all yours.

>>Tommy Jones: All right. Hello everyone. And when you, before you start answering questions to this when it requests your name what we’re looking for more is category of participant. And so are you from a tribal government and staff or industry, nonprofit, nontribal nonprofit or maybe an individual just wanting to learn more about our program. We’re interested in hearing from the different areas like that on what’s best for our office. And so we’ll go ahead and get started with this and you are able to select more than one response for most of these questions. And so if you this first question here how did you hear about this event, if there’s more than one select that. 

But some of our responses here are web search, social media, conference, referral, other agency or entity email or newsletter, our Office of Indian Energy email or newsletter, a prior engagement with DOE Office of Indian Energy or other. And if you have an other comment you can enter that into the chat as well. Please indicate in there what category you’re coming from as well. But we are open to hearing about others. We’ll give this a few more moments here. Ok. It looks like we’re getting close to completed here. If any of these questions you’re unable to respond to feel free to contact our office and let us know what’s the best way to be in contact with you as well. So we can go ahead and move on to the next question.

And so this question is why did you join this webinar and again you can pick multiple choice on this one as well, looking for funding, looking for technical assistance, need training, want more information on the webinar topic or other. And again with other you can submit a response into the chat function or question function. A few more moments here. Ok. Great. Thank you. We’ll move to the next question. 

So this question is what Office of Indian Energy services have you previously received. And you can pick all that apply. So technical assistance offered through the office, strategic energy planning, technical or financial analysis, grants funding opportunities, training, education, capacity building or none yet. Ok. Great. Thank you for your responses to that. So we can move on to the next question. And we can move to the next question. 

>>Lizana Pierce: I think it’s a new one Tommy.

>>Tommy Jones: Oh it’s not. I have which Office of Indian Energy services have you previously received. Pick all that – ok. Here. It just came up for me. Which Office of Energy services are you interesting in learning more about, about more? Pick all that apply. And so technical assistance, grants, funding opportunities, training, education, capacity building or other. A few more moments here for folks to answer. Ok. Great. We can move on to the next question.

So this question is where did you learn about the DOE Office of Indian Energy and pick all that apply. This includes web search, social media, conference, a referral, other agency or entity email or newsletters or prior engagement with the DOE Office of Indian Energy. And then there’s also the option for other and again you can enter that into the chat question. Ok. Great. Looks like we have a wide range there. We can move on to the next question.

Which of the following do you use to get information abut tribal clean energy opportunities and resources? Pick all that apply. Our responses here are web searches, social media, conferences, nonprofit organizations, native businesses or associations, other government agencies or directly from the DOE Office of Indian Energy. We also have an other response available here. Ok. Just give this another moment. Ok. Great. Thank you for the responses. We’ll move to the next question.

How do you prefer to get information about tribal clean energy opportunities and resources? So this is how you best receive the information that you have related to tribal clean energy. So pick your top five sources for information here. And so you can multiple check five. We have email, e-newsletters, social media, conferences, website content, webinars, podcasts, radio, printed newsletters, mailed communications, news media and other. And you are able to select four of these and other and submit a response. Ok. Thank you for your responses. We’ll move to the next question.

What information would you like to get from the Office of Indian Energy? Pick all that apply. Funding opportunities, technical assistance opportunities, upcoming events, workshops and webinars, success stories from other tribes or other. Ok. Thank you for your responses. We can move on to the next question. 

So was this webinar beneficial to you? Was the presentation overview of the office beneficial? And I know that some responses may be determined after questions are asked. But at this point we want to know has it been beneficial. Ok. And I believe this was our last question. Is that correct?

>>Lizana Pierce: Yes. 

>>Tommy Jones: So we can close this question now and look at the website. We do get a lot of questions about different things that our program offers and so it’s really good to go through the website for folks who aren’t familiar with it. So we can do that now. If you can access me to share screen now. All righty. So begin on most of our handouts and different things that we have for our office, the emails, we include the email address and it's energy.gov/indianenergy. And so that gets you to the DOE Office of Indian Energy website. And there’s several different options here at the top that you can look into for what our office offers. But generally on the homepage we have our big announcements about different things that are either funded or new events coming up. Here you also see the join the clean energy corps. 

And then there’s a blog here about our most recent thing, stories and things like that that we put out. This will include success stories, different types of funding that’s available. And then down here on the bottom side here we have different events that are coming up and a few different quick links. And when we have folks go to our website to look for our contact information its always here on the right side most of the way down the page. And so IndianEnergy@hq.doe.gov is the email that you can send requests to, questions and things like that as well. And to subscribe to our listserv which is sounds like a lot of folks on here are subscribed. If you’re not you can subscribe and get our email updates and those are typically one to two emails per week and they range from different funding announcements from our office, from other offices, technical assistance options, events that are coming up, success stories. We really try to have a wide variety of information that we provide through the listserv and so this is where you can sign up for that. We have a few more things down here, more blog and video related options and different photographs from different tribes’ projects from around the country. And so you can look through these different areas on your own. 

Where it’s very important to know for technical assistance as an example is this top tab up here. And we have three different options here, request technical assistance, other technical assistance and completed technical assistance. I’ll start with other technical assistance. These are opportunities that our office has put together from other agencies or offices within DOE that provide technical assistance to tribes. Many times on various – it’s a wide range of technical assistance that’s available. So if our office isn’t able to fulfill your technical assistance requests we want you to know that there’s other options available out there and we always are updating this. And so we always, if we hear about more opportunities we like to put them on here and share with folks. And then request technical assistance. So if you want to get technical assistance through our office you go through here and we give some, provide some information about what technical assistance is here and who is eligible. And so you can find the eligibility on this page and then you can also find the types of technical assistance that we offer. 

And so if you’re looking here we have technical analysis, financial analysis and strategic energy planning. And so you can look through these different areas and see what more aligns with your community needs. And then when you request the technical assistance we have you can either click up here to request technical assistance or down below. And what happens when you click this button is an email is generated that is prepared to send to our office. And it asks a few general questions, mainly who you are and what type of request you’re requesting. And what happens following that is you’ll receive a scoping call. We’ll talk about what options are available and go forward from there. And these requests again under the eligible entities you should look up to see if you qualify for this. 

We’ll go to completed technical assistance. And so as Lizana mentioned earlier we have around 400 completed technical assistance around the country. And you can see that it’s really been across the country. And these are all of the different communities that we have worked with and the states. One moment please. All righty. So we will go next to financial assistance. Sorry. If everyone heard my baby crying. That’s the future of Indian country out there so I’m happy to hear him.

So resources. We do offer a lot of resources online. There’s online curriculum and this is for tribal leaders and professionals. It’s to learn more about financing renewable energy projects, foundational courses. These are good sources to get you base level information and beyond about developing energy projects. And so we encourage folks to look at these resources, give us feedback if there’s more resources that we’re missing. And if there’s any questions related to this please let us know. But this is generally information to get you better prepared to do work in your communities. Our resource library, this is different types of reports, published papers from the various offices and journals, anything that’s related to Indian energy that we think would be useful to provide as information to folks we’ll stick it in here. 

And over here on the left side you can determine which category of, what topic areas that you would want to look for. And so there’s a lot of information here. We try to keep it updated as much as possible. The tribal energy atlas also under resources. This is something that is a very good thing to start when you’re looking to develop your energy in your communities. There’s a lot of different functions in here. You can look up a lot of different factors that can help you planning your energy and what types of energy developments that you want to do in your community. And so this is a good starting point that we like to point folks towards. 

Like this one the webinars are recorded and you can find the past webinars on our website here. And this is the first of the 2022 and energy webinar series and you can see what’s coming up in the future to see if you want to attend any of those. But all of our past webinars you can find here and there’s a lot of great information over the past few years that you can find on there. And we’re always looking for new ideas for new webinars to meet the needs of Indian country and so we look for feedback for that as well. Workshops, we have occasionally had these. During the pandemic these have been put on hold but when we are able to we like to get out to communities because we know that in person meetings can be very beneficial to folks. And so if workshops and forums are coming up those kinds of information will be shared on our events page and through our listserv. And so when those begin kicking off you can find that information there. 

We also have an internship that goes through Sandia National Laboratory. It’s a college internship typically over the summer. And this is actually the internship I participated in to get my start with the Office of Indian Energy. I highly recommend it. It’s a very, very beneficial education program because it gives students the opportunity to not just learn in the classroom. They get to visit with tribal leaders to understand the on the ground issues. And so it’s a great resource for students coming up. And we also offer other resources, different types of grants and programs and entities that may benefit tribal development. And so anything we can find that could possibly benefit tribes we try to put on our website. And so there’s a wealth of information here.

And then we’ll go to funding and funding is our biggest prong of our office. And when you look under current funding opportunities we have funding opportunities not just from our office but from other offices in here as well. And so maybe you’re looking at specifically a specific type of project. You might come through here and look and see if there’s specific grants out there for that type of project. And there’s a lot of information that goes in here and so I encourage folks to look at all the different opportunities because just because the tribe, the office doesn’t have Office of Indian Energy or something like that in its name doesn’t mean it doesn’t apply to tribal communities and so we try to put everything in there that we can find. Ongoing funding opportunities is another type of funding from other offices that we find and these are typically programs that are returning. And so we try to put that in here as well. Again we’re always looking for more funding opportunities to put onto here and we do encourage folks to look through those as well particularly when we don’t have an active funding opportunity. 

When we do have an active funding opportunity I think it’s great for folks to look at our past funding opportunities. We have FOA documents from the previous opportunities, the informational webinar and press release on who got funded. Looking through the FOA document is a great way to start preparing for applying to one of our grants in the future. And so understanding the FOA documents, the requirements that are needed for an application and eligibility, all of those types of factors you can find in these FOA documents. And no FOA is the same but when you look through them you can see that there’s a lot of similar requirements for each FOA. And the topic areas do change quite often but this gives you a great background and basis for understanding what’s needed going forward. 

And to go with that the projects. And so the project database is where all of the projects that we have funded under the Office of Indian Energy are located. And you can see a map that we’ve impacted across the United States. And you can look at the different types of energy, different types of projects and things like that. And so let’s say you’re from Arizona. You can see what other communities have done in Arizona related to energy development. And a lot of times regionally this gives folks a good idea of that community is doing this. That’s very similar to our needs so maybe we can look at this project and get some ideas on what we can do in our community. And there’s final technical reports for each of these projects that are added to the website so you get a full breadth of what went on during the project, the barriers, the success of it, cultural, technical our reach, things like that. And so there’s a lot of information on here to give you a good idea of what projects have been funded all across the country.

And then project successes. We have success stories from different communities. A lot of these communities are doing amazing big things for their communities and we like to share that because it’s possible to do those sorts of things all across the country. And we like to share, we share that success with tribes. Funding history, you can look at average funding, types of funding that we’ve had over the years. And really this is about transparency letting folks know where with the funding that our office gets where is it going. And you can see that it varies over years based on how much we have. But the big thrust of the program again is financing projects.

And then something that we always like to encourage folks to think about especially, particularly from tribal communities is our annual program review. And so the past two years this has been virtual but typically it’s held in person and it’s four to five days long and we have all of our currently funded grant recipients present on their projects. And so you can be in person hearing from these tribal communities that are doing these projects. You can talk to the folks there and learn about how you can do it in your own community. There’s really no other program opportunity like this to see 40 or 50 projects from across the entire United States within a few days and be able to have access to those folks that are doing those projects. And so this is one of our most popular events. Our staff really enjoys doing this as well. And from previous program reviews you can look at for example the 2021 program review. We have all of the presentations from folks that presented. So you can just click on any of these and you can go through what they’ve presented. And many times these presentations have contact information on them as well if you want to reach out to a specific person. And so this is another great way to understand a little bit deeper what’s going on in these projects.

Finally on the about us section you can learn about the office’s missions, news that’s coming out soon or new programs or new opportunities, our blog which includes a lot of the success stories, program staff stories, things like that. Our tribal summit is something that has occurred a few times over the past few years and it’s typically a summit that’s held in Washington DC that its similar to the program review but we’re bringing in other federal staff and folks that work in Indian energy to have another point of view and share information. The working group, I do see that we received a question about this earlier. The Indian Country and infrastructure Working Group or ICEIWG. We do have a page about that on here and ICIEWG which it’s colloquially called is still active and you can learn more about it through this link here for the national conference legislators. 

And so there’s more information there and we have the goals and objectives about what ICIEWG is about and we can look for any feedback related to that as well. And again the contact and staff, this is our office if you’re trying to reach out. This is a dated photo. We do have more staff now as Lizana mentioned earlier. But we do have our general help desk which is the first line that folks should be reaching out to and then event requests for the leadership. And then we have leadership and program staff information here and you can learn about each of us a little bit more on these slides here or these pages here. I think that’s all I have for now Lizana unless there’s something else we should go over.

>>Lizana Pierce: Thank you Tommy. That was great. Ok. I think next is if we have questions James. I don’t know if you want to – David, Tommy and I will stand by and we’ll try to answer all of the questions. So if you have any after that presentation as well please submit them in the question box and we’ll go through those. James it’s all yours.

>>James Jensen: Excellent. Thanks Lizana. We do have a few questions that have come on and we should have time for more. So please do submit any questions that you have. First question here is how is Office of Indian Energy helping DOE fulfill its obligations under DOE 144.1 and maybe also clarify what that order is for those that don’t know. 

>>Lizana Pierce: So David you want me to take a shot and you can follow on with any supplemental information?

>>David Conrad: Sure. 

>>Lizana Pierce: Ok. So that order is really about consultation. And it flows strongly through this administration. So a couple of things that are happening. DOE has a tribal energy steering committee which has representatives from all the offices across the department and they meet periodically really just to keep everybody appraised of happenings and offerings and information with their work with tribes. Also as part of that there has been some development of training across the department. And I think the first was like a month ago. So it’s pretty extensive training. It went over for the legal, the federal Indian policy history information just to try to get DOE staff to some knowledge of Indian country and tribes and the history and that kind of thing. 

Additionally they are reviewing the current DOE order to see how that could ne updated and enhanced. Additionally the department has had numerous listening and consultation sessions as well with tribes. So I think there is much more interest in because of the Justice 40 and helping underserved communities and program offices that have not previously worked with tribes are trying to get educated as well and to get input from tribes. So this is your opportunity to participate in some of those listening sessions or requests for information and provide your input. David did I cover it or did you want to supplement? 

>>David Conrad: Yeah. No. I think you covered it really well. The order has been updated with some minor tweaks over the years. I think the last time it was really updated was 2009. It lays out DOE’s federal Indian policy and discussed some of the structure inside of the department as to how its being implemented. But it doesn’t even mention the Office of Indian Energy for instance. That’s a major update that needs to be incorporate. So there’s an internal working group working on drafting some updates. Office of Indian Energy is participating on that with congressional intergovernmental affairs, general council, Office of Environmental Management and a few other offices that have some of the longer history of working with tribes and have tribal programs. 

So maybe we could encourage the office of congressional intergovernmental affairs to do their own webinar on the DOE order 144.1 and its update and could also talk a little bit about the DOE organizational chart and structure. We’re just one office in more of the applied energy offices deploying technology at the ground level. There are other parts of DOE that run national labs and do a lot of research in various either fossil energy or renewable energy or nuclear energy. So the department is much more vast than just Indian Energy. We are growing but we’re still a very small office within the department. But we’re having I think a significant influence. I’d say all look at how they’re going to be engaging with tribes. The infrastructure law has a lot of opportunities for tribal participation in and with those other offices or we’ll helping those other offices think through how they may do that and have that reflected in the revised order. 

>>Lizana Pierce: Yeah. David I would also maybe mention that there’s been a recent reorg and I don’t remember the last reorg so they don’t happen often. But in addition to the undersecretary of energy and science ‘cause a lot of DOE’s R&D focus is now created an undersecretary for infrastructure. And some of the more like focused deployment programs and the deployment programs that are a result of the bipartisan infrastructure law are under that undersecretary. So the department’s focus because of this organization is trying to serve and to execute the bipartisan infrastructure law as well. And so just something recent to try to address more hardware installation type projects within the department.

>>David Conrad: Yes. Right. Thank you.

>>James Jensen: Thanks Lizana and David. Some good insights there on all the stuff that’s going on kind of behind the scenes and whatnot. Another question here and kind of specific so we may have to answer generally. But what are the statistics of tribal homes that do not have access to electricity? 

>>Lizana Pierce: So as many of you may know there’s a willful lack of information, statistics data on Indian country. However the Office of Indian Energy was tasked by congress to evaluate that so we are in the process of developing an energy access and reliability congressional report. We did have a listening session last May, November, November. And we plan to have another one as well to get additional feedback and information. However the numbers range quite a bit. We’ve done, the office has done a number of studies and analysis. So the estimate right now is somewhere in the neighborhood of 30,000. I mean I don’t know the margin of error there and I probably shouldn’t be throwing out numbers. But there is a significant number of homes especially like with the Navajo Nation and other tribes as well. But quite a few with the Navajo Nation that have no access to electricity or water or whatever. In fact Director Johns grew up there as well in one of those communities that still to this day doesn’t have access to electricity. So we are trying to get a better handle on what that exact number is. But its difficult. Tommy did you want to –

>>Tommy Jones: Yeah. The best way to get a better number on that is tribal engagement. And so we know that those numbers from you all would be – it’s closer to home. You have the best idea. And so we want folks to work with us to let us know some of this data so that we can be as accurate as possible. And we did hold that listening session on November of last year and we had a series of questions, polling questions then to get more information. And if you’re from a tribal community that hasn’t engaged with us on that yet feel free to reach out to our office and we can work with you going forward. 

>>James Jensen: Thank Tommy and Lizana. Next question here. For a shovel ready project what is the typical timeframe to receive funding and begin construction? Maybe that’s an outlying kind of FOA process at a high level.

>Lizana: So that’s a hard one. Unfortunately we never know when we’re going to get money from congress or get appropriated funds. We would love to be able to put one out like every year on such and such date. That hasn’t happened in the last 20 years. So typically we’ll leave a FOA out like 90 to 120 days. We do require a tribal council resolution so we understand some tribe’s council only meets on a quarterly basis so we do have to allow for that as well as the fact that tribes have many other hats and duties to do besides just writing grants applications. Typically after selection depending on the ability of the tribe to respond as well we try to get those awarded within three to four months. It doesn’t always happen. COVID was a huge factor the last couple years for that. But once they’re awarded we say two to three years and we do for those require a 12 month monitoring period so at least at the end of the 12 months you’ve got some utility bills or something to figure out the savings and quantify. But life happens. COVID came. So some, a lot of those projects were delayed. I understand now that obviously some of the prices have gone up. The supply chains are lengthier. 

So I guess I don’t have a good answer on typically what will happen because each tribe is facing different things. And the last couple of years have hopefully been an anomaly. But a lot of those projects from the award on are probably two to three years because they should be shovel ready. But again it depends on supplies. They have to run a competitive process to select vendors. Can they get stuff in a timely fashion supply chain wise? Are there shortages in steel or whatever. So lots of different factors. Typically a lot of projects can be categorically excluded from the NEPA process. Occasionally there may be some specific situations where they may have to take some additional environmental analysis. So again two to four years from the time of award and that includes like 12 month monitoring period as well. That’s optimal. And I know I didn’t answer that well but again it’s a case by case basis. There’s lots of factors that go into how long does it take. Sorry about that. Best I can do.

>>James Jensen: No. Thanks Lizana. I think that certainly gives some idea of what to expect. A question here. It’s about the loan programs office actually so may not be able to answer it in much detail. But they have a direct loan program available to tribes. Can we share any information about that here? 

>>Lizana Pierce: Yeah. So well I can at least maybe touch on some things. We did have a listening session last May jointly the Office of Indian Energy with the loan programs office to talk about funding and financing. The questions and answers are posted on the website. But part of that was to for the loan office as well as us on our grant program to see where potential issues may be. I do believe that the loan program office is evaluating their loan guarantee program and trying to streamline that better. Now with 2022 appropriation act they did receive direct loan authority. That was like in the last month or so. And I can’t speak to the whole process of how or when or whether they have to develop regulation for that or not. But I’m sure if you contact the loan program offices directly or contact us so we can get you in touch with them. They’ll be able to have more answers. I would say I believe that the loan program office will also have representatives at RES in Vegas in May and so if you’re there you could ask directly at that point. But let us know if we can get you in touch and they can probably have a better answer than I do for that one. David do you have any other insights on that?

>>David Conrad: No. You covered it completely. I think that they do have a short window for the FY 22 appropriations. So yeah. It’s not a __ authority and I know that they’re very desirous to try to get as many projects in the pipeline so to speak to demonstrate a real need and value for the direct loan authority and even the loan guarantees. So they’re using the same $2 billion. It’s not a new $2 billion. It’s just an expansion of their authority. And they will be as RES. They’ll have a booth I believe and they’ll also be participating in our – we’ll have a DOE room with a number of presenters and people there to be able to answer questions. So look for it at RES and then also follow up with us directly. We could put you into direct contact with the folks over there. They also did a presentation at NEFOA recently so you can probably see some of their information perhaps on the NEFOA website. That was just last week. 

>>James Jensen: Great. Thanks David and Lizana. We just have a couple of questions in the queue at this point so we’ll get to those. If you do have further questions please enter them as we still have a little bit of extra time here. Next question. Sorry. I lost it. Oh how is the Office of Indian Energy interfacing with the larger federal electric vehicle infrastructure roll out? Is there any coordination? Any how does that deal with EVs I guess?

>>David Conrad: Yeah. So Office of Indian Energy is not statutorily really involved other than coordinating and providing advice to the Vehicle Technologies Office in EERE and joint DOE DOT EV office that was created under the infrastructure law. We’re also working through the White House council on Native American affairs. There is an economic development energy and infrastructure committee and we chair the energy subcommittee. And under the energy subcommittee we have an interagency work group that consists of DOI, USDA and DOT discussing the EV issues, access and siting of charging stations. And we are talking to the joint office of DOE and DOT. So it’s a work in progress and we’re trying to make sure that the funding there is rolled out in close coordination and after consultation with tribes. So it was one of the topics for the DOE consultation on the 29th and we’ll be doing follow up with those responsible funding offices. There’s some EV infrastructure funding in the infrastructure bill but then there’s in just the regular office appropriations as well. 

>>Lizana Pierce: I would say – go ahead David.

>>David Conrad: No. In a couple of those offices. So yeah, it does require a lot of coordination.

>>Lizana Pierce: Yeah. I would also say that not too long ago both I want to say Red Lake Band and Standing Rock received funds and I can’t remember which office it was for some EV work on their reservation. So tribes are well positioned I think for EV. Personal opinion. And hopefully they will engage as that money becomes available. 

>>James Jensen: Great. We have a question here about solar energy and environmental and health and safety impacts of it. What sort of training does our office provide in regards to PV and those issues, health and environmental?

>>Lizana Pierce: I’m sorry James. Could you repeat that?

>>James Jensen: Yeah. We have a question about training that our office might provide about health and safety issues and they don’t elaborate on what specifically those might be related to solar energy. And also any environmental issues around solar energy.

>>Lizana Pierce: So we have had some training which obviously a good portion of that is dedicated to safety on the roof. I’m not sure I understand the component about environmental. Is it environmental impacts? So I guess I would need more clarity to be able to respond to the environmental component. 

>>James Jensen: Thanks Lizana. I can just add a little bit of flavor. I don’t know what the question is specifically but obviously each solar project is unique in that it has it’s own environmental potential issues. So it’s hard to provide specific training on environmental issues related to solar.

>>Lizana Pierce: I would say – sorry James. I would say that part of our process is to work with the tribe’s ____ office if they have one. Obviously they are in a better position to know about cultural issues or siting and things like that. I mean we can work with the birds, bugs and butterflies thing but we do consult with the ___ office on those other siting issues as well. Sorry to interrupt James. 

>>James Jensen: No problem Lizana. I’m just checking to see if we have any last moment questions here. We don’t. I don’t see any specific questions that have come in since – we do have a lot of responses related to Tommy’s polling questions in the window. So if I missed your question I apologize. I tried to get to all of them. Someone asked if the website has a _____ and yes, I believe it does. I don’t know Lizana if you want to chat at all about details around that.

>>Lizana Pierce: Seems like that not that new really. I can’t remember when we changed the platform but all of DOE changed the platform to make it more home friendly as I call it. But it seems like that was I don’t know, four of five years ago. It’s been a while. But since then the platform hasn’t changed. We do change like the heroes and things so it may look differently. I don’t know if that helps at all but. 

>>James Jensen: Thanks Lizana. We did have a question come in. Does IE promote tribal utilities in any way? 

>>Lizana Pierce: So first I want to say that there is an open funding opportunity announcement through interior division of energy and minerals for capacity building. A lot of that focuses on tribal utilities as well. Some of our prior funding grants have been to help with the tribal utility formation if you will. And we’ve had quite a number of grant agreements with tribal utility. So I don’t know per se whether we promote it. Or not promote it. I mean that’s the tribe’s choice. But we can potentially provide funds for tribal utility projects with tribal council support and technical assistance potentially depending on your needs. Hopefully that at least sort of addressed the question.

>>James Jensen: Thanks Lizana. I think it did at a high level anyways.

>>Lizana Pierce: Yeah. So there was another one here I did want to address which had to do with ICEIWG, the Indian Country Energy and Infrastructure Working Group is and has been for quite a while continued so it does exist. And there are typically quarterly meetings. Used to be two times a year in person and two virtual. And with COVID they’ve been virtual. But they do happen. So I just wanted to say that that is ongoing. 

>>James Jensen: Thanks Lizana. We did have one last question come in about your bill kills. I doubt we can answer it with any specificity but concern over eagles being killed by wind turbines. Do we have any information about IE funded turbines and bird kills?

>>Lizana Pierce: No. Going back there’s probably more recent reports but there’s been quite a few studies I know that NREL has done. The biggest key there is siting the wind turbine in the right place and not in a migratory bird path. But I do believe there’s more recent research on that. We don’t have any specific just for the IE funded projects but there has been some analysis done I’m pretty sure. Starting with NREL would be a good place for more information.

>>James Jensen: Thanks Lizana. Yeah. I read that article or a similar article on it. It was large utility scale wind farms of which IE hasn’t really funded any. And I think it was – actually I don’t remember but a specific developer. 

>>Lizana Pierce: Right. And there’s quite a bit of difference between the small wind turbines that go really fast versus the big ones that go slow. I’m sure there’s other people on this webinar that know way more than I do. But that’s also a distinction whether it’s large scale or smaller turbines. 

>>James Jensen: Excellent. Thanks Lizana. That’s all we have at this point for Q&A. We want to thank everyone for their participation in today’s webinar. Hold on. We had one question just came in. Do any of the western states or California tribal nations have canals that run through their reservation. Ok. So it’s pretty specific. Someone interested in putting solar on canals. So maybe not appropriate for this context but does anybody have any thoughts on availabilities of water for solar development in tribal nations?

>>Lizana Pierce: I don’t. I have heard something similar, the stats. But I don’t know about California but upper northwest Oregon, Washington area. I don’t know about canals but definitely river kinds of opportunities for turbines. I can’t answer it. Sorry.

>>James Jensen: No. Thanks Lizana. Yeah. It’s a little but outside of our wheelhouse. Ok. So thanks everyone for today’s webinar participation. We really appreciate it. We are very interested in your suggestions on how to strengthen the value of these webinars. Please send us any feedback that you have. On the final slide here we show the remaining webinars of the 2022 series. The next webinar is titled Understanding Your Electric Grid and Why You Need To. It will be held on May 4th and 11:00 AM mountain time. I do want to highlight that this year our remaining webinars are all held on the first Wednesday of the month. Historically we’ve been doing it on the last Wednesday of the month so people that participate regularly should note that change. And this concludes the webinar for today. Thank you so much for your interest and attendance and we look forward to joining us on future webinars. Good day. 


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