Pascua Yaqui Tribe – 2017 Project

Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs

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Project Overview

Tribe/Awardee

Pascua Yaqui Tribe

Location

Tucson, AZ

Project Title

Energy Efficiency Action Plan

Type of Application

First Steps toward Developing Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency on Tribal Lands

DOE Grant Number

DE-IE0000074

Project Amounts

DOE: $143,153

Awardee: $15,906

Total: $159,059

Project Status

See project status

Project Period of Performance

Start: September 2017

End: September 2018

Summary

The Pascua Yaqui Tribe will establish its Reservation-wide baseline energy use, conduct energy audits on major tribal government buildings and a representative sample of about 100 residential housing units, and create the Pascua Yaqui Tribe Energy Efficiency Action Plan. The Plan will identify recommended energy efficiency improvements for the Tribe and provide sound recommendations for incorporating energy efficiency into the Tribe’s future infrastructure planning. With the information generated by this project, the Tribe will be positioned to implement the most cost-effective energy conservation measures that will result in significant energy savings while mitigating energy-cost increases that can be expected in the coming decades.

Project Description

Background

The Pascua Yaqui Tribe is a federally recognized Indian tribe located in southeastern Arizona near the City of Tucson. Since the Tribe was federally recognized in 1978, the Tribe has worked to develop its Reservation and governmental infrastructure to provide much-needed employment, housing, and services to its tribal member population of nearly 20,000, of which about 3,500 currently live on the Pascua Yaqui Reservation.

Over the past several years, the Pascua Yaqui Tribe has gained a significant understanding of its energy-related concerns. In 2008, the Tribe conducted a small-scale energy audit of selected tribal buildings and implemented limited retrofits for those buildings in 2012. The Tribe also engaged the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs’ Strategic Technical Assistance Response Team (START) program in 2012 to provide a three-day energy planning session and completed a solar feasibility study with co-funded by the Office of Indian Energy. And within the past two years, the Tribe has worked on its own to further develop plans for a 2.5-megawatt community-scale solar project on the Reservation.

The Tribe is also beginning a study to assess the feasibility of establishing a Tribal Electric Utility Authority (TUA) that could provide greater flexibility and opportunities to the Tribe in determining its own energy future. To inform the TUA and guide the Tribe in looking further into potential renewable energy projects, it is also necessary to identify and implement energy efficiency measures (EEMs). This project will lead to a reduction of the Tribe’s carbon footprint and conforms to the Pascua Yaqui Tribe’s cultural identity to be good stewards of the natural environment.

Project Objectives and Scope

The creation of a Pascua Yaqui Tribe Energy Efficiency Action Plan will: 1) establish the Tribe’s baseline energy usage for calendar year 2015; 2) audit selected Tribal buildings with significant energy usage plus a representative cross section of Tribal housing units; and 3) identify and prioritize EEMs for implementation.

The goal is to gain a complete understanding of the range of EEM alternatives for both tribal buildings and tribal housing units that can be implemented by the Tribe to reduce energy demand. In addition, the goal is also to provide valuable information to the Tribe regarding the energy impact of various types of construction under consideration in future construction on the Reservation.

Activities that the Tribe will take to realize the goals of this project include hiring a qualified energy auditor; collecting baseline data and conducting energy audits of selected tribal buildings; and developing the Pascua Yaqui Tribe Energy Action Plan where EEMs can be compared with other investment opportunities.

The final Plan will provide sufficient information to allow the Tribe to make informed decisions on improving the energy efficiency of existing tribal buildings and housing units, including a detailed analysis of all audited buildings’ current conditions and energy use. The Plan will also recommend appropriate Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification standards for future tribal buildings, enabling the Tribe to more proactively meet the Tribe’s energy savings goals moving forward.

Should the Tribe determine that a TUA will be formed as a result of a planned feasibility study, the Pascua Yaqui Energy Efficiency Action Plan will be an informative guide for determining optimal load size for the TUA if the efficiency improvements recommended by the Plan are implemented. If a TUA is not formed, the Energy Efficiency Action Plan will serve as a standalone document that will assist the Tribe in reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions and in lowering energy costs, both now and into the future.

Project Location

The Pascua Yaqui Tribe is located in southeastern Arizona near the City of Tucson with a Reservation land base of about 2,200 acres. About 3,500 tribal members currently live on the Pascua Yaqui Reservation.

Project Status

The project is complete. For details, see the final report.

The project was competitively selected under the Office of Indian Energy Fiscal Year 2016 funding opportunity announcement “First Steps Toward Developing Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency on Tribal Lands – 2016” (DE-FOA-0001621) and started in September 2017.

The November 2017 and December 2018 project status report provides more information.