The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Indian Energy provides tribes and Alaska Natives with information on energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and project development through webinars.
Download presentation and audio files from past webinars below.
2021 Tribal Energy Webinar Series
Tribal energy projects can improve community resilience, foster economic development, and support environmental stewardship. The 2021 Tribal Energy Webinar Series will focus on how tribes can capture these wide-ranging benefits. Each webinar will share information, tools, resources, and potential funding opportunities.
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The climate is changing—and as it changes, our infrastructure must change with it. In this webinar we will discuss how climatological changes and extreme weather events are impacting tribal communities, and opportunities and tools available to tribes to help plan for and adapt to these changes.
A reliable supply of electricity (and other heating and transportation fuels) is essential for community safety and prosperity. Weather-related blackouts and brownouts in Texas and California over the last year have demonstrated the importance of building greater resilience into our electricity systems. This webinar will discuss potential weaknesses in our electric grid and distribution lines, and ways tribes can address those weaknesses through energy projects that help strengthen or support the grid.
Microgrids can increase the reliability of the electricity supply for communities and/or essential infrastructure. In this webinar we will explore how tribes can effectively deploy microgrids to improve the resilience of their electricity systems.
As electric vehicles become a mainstream form of transportation, communities will need to develop new infrastructure to support this major shift in how we fuel our cars and trucks. In this webinar we will look at the opportunities and challenges that come with the transition to electric vehicles, as well as ways that communities can support and accelerate this change.
With support from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Office, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the Midwest Tribal Energy Resources Association (MTERA) have embarked on a 3-year initiative to address regulatory challenges to tribal solar deployment. The goal of this initiative is to articulate key barriers to tribal solar and solar-plus-storage adoption at all scales and to ready stakeholders to implement options to address these challenges. This webinar will share some early findings from the initiative and explain how others can get involved.
The goal of building electrification is to utilize electricity rather than fossil fuels for building heating and cooking applications. Doing so can improve indoor air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This webinar will explore this trending topic on the path to a clean energy future.
Energy projects are often labor-intensive during construction—and once they are complete, local capability is needed to operate and maintain those energy systems. Tribes who develop a local workforce in conjunction with developing projects can realize improved project economics while creating local jobs and skilled labor. This webinar will explore this win-win opportunity.
Developing utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) projects can be a lengthy and complex process—and to date, only a few utility-scale projects have been built on tribal lands. This webinar will explore what goes into utility-scale solar development, including lessons learned from tribes who have successfully completed these larger-scale projects.
2020 Tribal Webinar Series
The 2020 Tribal Energy Webinar Series focused on how to accomplish specific tasks related to energy development on tribal lands.
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When trying to lower energy bills or reduce environmental impact from energy generation, the first step is to look for opportunities to increase energy efficiency. This webinar will define what energy efficiency is and explore how to identify potential measures to reduce your Tribe’s energy use.
The previous webinar discussed the value of energy efficiency and how to identify buildings with strong potential for energy efficiency projects. Once your Tribe has identified energy efficiency as a goal and considered the opportunities, the next stage consists of defining and executing the project. This webinar will focus on how to move a project from concept to completion.
Once the low-hanging fruit of energy efficiency has been addressed, longer-term planning on future energy needs and energy options is needed. If you don’t identify where you want to go, you can’t plot the course to get there. This webinar will explore how tribes can develop a vision for their energy future.
The energy landscape continues to evolve rapidly. In many areas, costs continue to drop as technology improvements and other market drivers create greater opportunity for distributed generation. This webinar will provide an overview of several common energy technology options.
After a tribal energy vision has been developed, the next step is to identify specific energy projects to pursue and how best to use your energy resources. Tribes often have many options to consider. This webinar will provide guidance on how to select energy projects that meet your energy vision.
Partnerships can often help tribes meet their energy goals. It is important for tribes to be purposeful in selecting project partners and developing effective partnerships. This webinar will discuss how to find and select partners that can best assist you in achieving your energy goals.
The easiest energy projects to complete are the ones you have the most control over. “Behind-the-meter” projects typically give you that control. This webinar will focus on the benefits and nuances of behind-the-meter projects and why they work.
Energy projects that are not “behind the meter” often require agreements that define how the tribe will work with other parties such as utilities, contractors, and investors. Negotiating and understanding these agreements is essential to the success of any tribal energy project. This webinar will explain some of the most common project agreements and provide ideas on how to negotiate them.
Interests in microgrids continues to grow as the number of microgrid projects increase and the value proposition becomes more evident. This webinar will explore common applications for microgrids and the benefits they can provide to tribal communities. Tribal case studies will highlight why and how those tribes chose to develop microgrids.
Many tribes across Indian Country have had energy successes. Each situation is unique, with differing reasons, approaches, and challenges. By sharing the successes of other tribes, you can gain valuable inspiration and insights. This webinar will share a few of these tribal energy success stories.
2019 Tribal Energy Webinar Series
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Energy development is a powerful tool to help bring economic growth, jobs, and independence to tribal communities. As such, there is significant interest in pursuing energy development in Indian Country—but difficulty understanding energy jargon or energy concepts can be a barrier to getting started. This webinar will provide individuals with an introduction to energy and familiarize attendees with important concepts and terminology. Attendees will also learn about publicly available resources that can help build their energy knowledge base.
It can be challenging to identify suitable tribal energy projects and decide how to initiate their development unless you have a general idea of the physical requirements (e.g., land), cost, and performance characteristics of various technologies. This webinar will provide attendees with tips and insights on how to perform simple, fast, and effective initial scoping of potential projects. Attendees will learn how to answer questions such as: How much energy can this project make? Approximately how much land will this project require? What will be the approximate capital and operating costs? They will also walk away with an overview of the tools available to assist in answering those questions.
Among the benefits of energy project development to tribal communities are the jobs and economic development that come with local investment. This webinar will share tools and methods tribes can use to estimate the jobs and broader economic benefits of energy projects. The webinar will also feature case studies from tribes that have successfully created jobs and economic development through energy development.
The most cost-effective time to reduce a building’s energy consumption is during the design phase. At this stage, energy-saving features can be integrated into the design in ways that are much more economical than a post construction retrofit/remodel. This webinar will discuss many opportunities to reduce the thermal and electrical energy cost of operating a building, from passive solar design and energy efficient technologies to building materials and various types of certifications and building codes. Case studies will highlight successes and lessons learned from tribes that have recently built new commercial and residential buildings.
Land lease, service line, and right-of-way agreements are key to developing energy projects on tribal lands. This webinar will explore some of the nuances of these agreements with the goal of giving attendees greater understanding of not only their importance in the development process but how they work—including how right-of-way agreements can serve as valuable tools for tribes looking to leverage their land ownership for regional influence and/or financial benefit.
Case studies can be both very informative and inspirational. This webinar will delve into the details of successful tribal energy development structures and examine how those business structures impacted project financing and development. Presenters will focus on identifying key decisions and approaches that contributed to their success.
Tribes interested in developing energy and minerals on their lands have resources and assistance available from the federal government. Learn about three organizations providing assistance to tribes for energy development. Speakers from DOE’s Office of Indian Energy, U.S. Department of Interior’s Division of Energy and Mineral Development, and the Indian Energy Service Center will cover their organization’s mission and resources, with Q&A to follow.
In recent years, tribes have shown increased interest in microgrids. Among the reasons for this interest is the potential for microgrids to help tribal communities improve resilience, use local energy resources, and control energy costs. However, the potential benefits of microgrids are highly dependent on the variables of each specific situation. This webinar will provide attendees with information that can assist tribal governments and project leaders in identifying microgrid opportunities suited to their unique situations. Attendees will also learn the reasons other tribes have embarked on developing microgrids.
2018 Tribal Sovereignty and Self-Determination through Community Energy Development Webinar Series
The Office of Indian Energy and the Western Area Power Administration are pleased to co-sponsor the 2018 Tribal Sovereignty and Self-Determination through Community Energy Development webinar series.
Roughly two million American Indians and Alaska Natives from 567 federally recognized tribes live on or near 56.2 million acres of Indian land. The 2018 webinar series is designed to provide these diverse communities with the information and knowledge required to evaluate and prioritize energy options; establish tribal consensus on energy goals and objectives; institute short and long-range actions; make informed technical, financial, market, policy, and regulatory decisions; and take advantage of proven tribal energy development best practices. The webinars will highlight tribal case studies and provide attendees with tools and resources to facilitate and accelerate community energy and infrastructure development in Indian Country.
The series includes 11 webinars, all offered at no cost and scheduled at 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mountain Time (MT) the last Wednesday of each month, beginning in January and concluding in November.
|Webinar Date||Title and Registration Link||Description|
DOE has joined the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) in its campaign to raise awareness and facilitate dialogue around the importance of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) studies and careers in Indian Country. In concert with these efforts, this webinar will highlight the Office of Indian Energy’s college student internship program, which offers Native students the opportunity to be immersed in energy project planning and development activities with experts in the field and at DOE's national laboratories. Applications are now being accepted through February 19 for the summer 2018 internship opportunity. Attendees will hear former interns’ stories about how the program has positively affected their lives, helped guide and influence their career paths, and enabled them to fulfill their desire to make a positive impact in Indian Country.
|February 28||Sovereign tribal nations across the United States have recognized the important economic value of developing and implementing community energy plans. The community energy planning process helps tribal members establish short- and long-range energy and economic development goals, and identify challenges and opportunities for meeting current and future energy needs in an economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable fashion. In this webinar, tribal leaders and community members will learn how to develop a community energy plan, including an overview of the five-step project development process developed by DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory for the Office of Indian Energy. Speakers will address the importance of using an inclusive planning process with tribal community participation to gain support for and ownership of all aspects of the plan. Speakers will describe barriers likely to be encountered during the planning process, provide tips on how to overcome those barriers, and identify tools and resources that can help tribes establish an energy plan based on developing natural resources with maximum local control and ownership.|
A tribal community energy plan will identify desired changes for energy generation and consumption in the community. But how can the tribe work toward achieving those objectives? In this webinar, tribal leaders and community members will learn how to progress toward established energy goals with a focus on opportunities in tribal housing. Speakers will discuss how to establish departments or groups within the tribe to lead both near- and long-term energy planning priorities; the importance of documentation and knowledge transfer as tribal members and tribal councils change; and, for those further along in the development process, the benefits of developing new tribal energy organizations to support project negotiation strategies, and foster and grow tribal management capabilities.
Several different structures can be used by tribes to form an energy business, but no single model will work for every tribe. In this webinar, attendees will learn best practices for tribal energy business structures, including their advantages and disadvantages, goals associated with different business models, and examples of various models. Tribal leaders and community members will also learn how to select the best structure for their goals, existing codes, and laws.
Understanding the power grid and organized markets is essential for tribes interested in developing energy projects and selling energy into the wholesale electricity market. Webinar attendees will gain knowledge of transmission markets, management, and ownership structures; interconnection request processes and timelines; transmission planning and operations; and fundamentals of the power grid. Due to the ongoing changes in organized energy markets, this webinar will update and build off of our September 2017 webinar Fundamentals of Organized Energy Markets for Tribes. Attendees will learn about ongoing changes with the Southwest Power Pool and California Independent System Operator that will create greater opportunities for tribes to sell and buy energy.
Many tribes have found success in facilitating energy development on native lands by advancing initiatives under some form of tribal utility authority. In this webinar, tribal leaders and community members will learn about the benefits and challenges of forming a tribal utility authority, including the many opportunities associated with wholesale tariffs, direct access service, net-metering arrangements, and use of substations and infrastructure, among other utility services. Attendees will also learn about the unique authority of sovereign nations to select new energy service providers, implement eminent domain, license dams, and negotiate right-of-way agreements.
A request for proposal (RFP) is a useful tool to procure valuable assets and/or services for energy projects. In this webinar, attendees will learn how to develop RFPs that effectively reflect tribal community energy plans and encourage qualified bidders to respond. Attendees will also learn how a request for information (RFI) can be used to help inform the development of an RFP. Using the information from the webinar, tribes can ensure their RFPs have wide distribution and high-quality responses. The webinar will also discuss key considerations for tribes when responding to an electric utility RFP for energy development.
Utility-scale energy development is similar in many ways to smaller-scale energy development, but it can present unique challenges in key areas such as permitting, financing, interconnection to the grid, and finding customers for the energy produced. In this webinar, attendees will hear about common challenges faced by tribes for utility-scale energy development, and ideas for how to approach these challenges.
Taking on facility-and community-scale energy projects can be a good way for tribes to gain experience and expertise in project development while limiting risk, but like utility-scale projects, these projects also have their own unique challenges. For example, tribes often run into difficulty when it comes to finding money to build these smaller-scale projects. This webinar will outline options for financing and addressing other challenges related to facility- and community-scale project development. Attendees will learn about available financing mechanisms that can allow tribes to develop projects with limited to no upfront capital costs, including community solar models, third-party vendors, energy savings performance contracts, and utility energy service contracts.
The capabilities and costs of distributed energy technologies continue to evolve rapidly. This webinar will provide tribes with a broad update on recent technological and cost trends for distributed energy. Speakers will discuss the latest developments in conventional and renewable distributed generation technologies, along with energy storage options that in some cases can make these energy sources more reliable and valuable. Attendees will learn unique characteristics of these technologies, find out how they are competing in the marketplace, and understand how to use them separately or combined for the greatest benefit to their tribal community.
As microgrid technology continues to become more affordable, reliable, and advanced, tribes are looking at microgrids as a viable option to provide electric service to their members. This webinar will provide an overview of microgrid systems and technologies and how they can be used in tribal communities for emergency situations, to provide reliability, or to increase independence. Speakers will highlight the benefits and challenges for tribes considering developing, owning, and operating a microgrid. Case studies will share the reasons for and lessons learned by tribes that have successfully developed their own microgrids.
2017 Expanding Tribal Energy Development through Partnerships Webinar Series
The Office of Indian Energy and the Western Area Power Administration co-sponsored the 2017 Expanding Tribal Energy Development through Partnerships webinar series as part of DOE’s coordinated efforts to support fiscally responsible energy business and economic development decision making and information sharing among tribes. The 11 webinars provided attendees with information on tools and resources available to develop and implement tribal energy plans, programs, and projects; tribal energy development case studies; and business strategies tribes can use to expand their energy options and develop sustainable local economies.
|02/22/2017||Indian Energy: Looking Back and Moving Forward||Attendees will learn about the history of Indian energy in the United States, including key players and how energy development on tribal lands has changed over time. Attendees will also hear about the mission of the Office of Indian Energy, including its past successes and future plans, and how the Office adds value and reduces the web of government complexity for tribes interested in energy development and self-determination.|
|03/29/2017||Federal and State Policy: Advancing Strategic Energy Partnerships||A number of federal laws and regulations can impact tribal energy activities and partnerships, so developing energy resources through partnerships can be complex. Attendees will learn about circumstances where state government regulatory responsibilities, services, and infrastructure benefits can impact communities (tribal and nontribal alike), and which federal requirements could impact energy projects on tribal lands depending upon the type of project, location, and size, among other considerations.|
|04/26/2017||Pitching Your Project|
To move an energy project forward, project leaders need to succinctly and convincingly convey the project idea to “investors” such as private equity investors, a tribal council, or a tribal business board. In the investment world, this is known as a “pitch.” Regardless of the industry, the skill of pitching ideas is basically the same. In this webinar, participants will receive tips on how to improve their pitch to increase its likelihood of resulting in an investment. This webinar is designed to work hand-in-hand with the 2017 National Tribal Energy Summit May 1–3 in Washington, D.C., which will include a matchmaking session where attendees can pitch their projects to investors, lenders, and project developers.
|05/31/2017||Spending Energy Dollars Wisely||It all starts with understanding your current energy situation and prioritizing your energy opportunities. During this webinar, attendees will learn about a number of strategies, tools, and technical assistance opportunities to help develop a deliberate approach to maximizing energy dollars. Tribal guest speakers will share their successes and lessons learned in pursuing, developing and implementing strategic approaches to wise energy investments.|
|06/28/2017||What Energy Project Is Right for My Tribe?||Attendees will learn how to identify the appropriate energy project, whether it's a small renewable energy project for a single tribal residence or building, a tribal community project, or a utility-scale project requiring transmission interconnection and off-take through a power purchase agreement. Speakers will explore the pros and cons of ownership and leasing, the differences among various renewable and conventional technologies, and potential project barriers. Speakers will also share information on tools and resources available to help tribes evaluate options and move forward.|
|07/26/2017||Many tribes have entered into successful partnerships with universities, state and federal agencies, cities and counties, energy companies, electric utilities, and energy developers with the ultimate goal of developing energy projects as a means toward self-sufficiency and self-determination, and to strengthen economic development opportunities on Indian lands. Partnership activities have run the gambit from oil and natural gas development to renewable energy development, feasibility studies, tribal utility formation, and access to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) resources. In this webinar, attendees will hear about successful partnerships and how the successes can be replicated. We encourage tribal nations and energy industry professionals interested in expanding their energy resource options and increasing economic development and self-determination activities to attend.|
|08/30/2017||Powering Your Community with Tribal Energy||Developing an energy project involves many different parties, including utilities, government agencies, developers, grid operators, and financing parties. Speakers will address the steps to developing a 1- to 2-megawatt energy project located on property owned or controlled by a tribe to serve the energy needs of the tribal community. These steps include identifying an economically feasible site or building structure(s); assessing the environmental regulations impacting the project; determining the local, state, and federal permits required to construct and operate the project; selling the electricity produced; leveraging government incentives; and determining how the project will be connected to the grid, operated, maintained, and utilized to the fullest benefit of the tribe.|
|09/27/2017||Fundamentals of Organized Energy Markets for Tribes||Tribes interested in selling energy into the wholesale electricity market will see major changes with the advent of independent system operators, regional transmission organizations, and energy imbalance markets. Attendees will learn about power marketing administrations and organized energy markets, as well as how establishments such as the Southwest Power Pool and California Independent System Operator are expanding to create more opportunities for those looking to expand their energy resource options or buy and sell energy resources, especially those on tribal lands.|
|10/25/2017||Opportunities for Tribes to Work Together||There are many benefits associated with tribes collaborating in the power industry. Attendees will learn about generation-transmission cooperatives and joint action agencies as potential business models to jointly own, procure, and build new transmission and power generation projects, as well as other partnership opportunities that can support tribal energy development and self-determination on tribal lands.|
|11/29/2017||Essential Tribal and Utility Relationships||Electric utilities that serve tribal loads can provide a number of beneficial services that are essential to tribal self-sufficiency and self-determination, and to strengthening economic development opportunities on Indian lands. Services can range from customized rate tariffs to line extensions and energy services, among other offerings. Additionally, utilities can become partners with tribal organizations on a variety of energy efficiency, renewable energy, and power generation projects and programs. Tribal representatives can also attend utility meetings, and join utility advisory groups and boards to play a greater role in the utility’s governance. Tribal organizations can also form their own electric utilities in those circumstances where the local serving utility does not meet the current or future needs of the tribal organization.|
|12/13/2017||Economic Market Potential on Tribal Lands and Interactive Tools for Assessments||Developing conventional and renewable energy resources on tribal lands presents significant economic opportunities. Tribal lands consist of more than 56 million acres, representing about 2.3% of the total U.S. land base and an estimated 17.1 million acres of existing and potential fossil energy and mineral resources and vast, untapped renewable energy potential. Attendees will learn about the economic potential of indigenous conventional and renewable energy resources, and the tools available for economic and energy supply assessments.|
2016 Tribal Energy and Economic Development Webinar Series
The Office of Indian Energy, in partnership with Western Area Power Administration, sponsored the 2016 Tribal Energy and Economic Development webinar series to assist tribes and Alaska Native villages interested in deploying energy projects to increase energy self-sufficiency, reduce energy costs, and strengthen tribal energy infrastructure.
|01/27/2016||Energy Planning for Tribal Economic Development||Attendees will learn from experienced tribal energy planning and development facilitators and tribal project leaders about tools and resources to establish clean, diverse, and economically viable energy plans based on energy efficiency and wise use of renewable resources, with maximum local control and ownership of energy issues.|
|02/24/2016||Explore Your Energy Market||Attendees will explore energy markets, wholesale price drivers, and other factors involved in putting tribal energy deals together.|
|03/30/2016||Transmission and Grid Basics for Tribal Economic and Energy Development||Attendees will learn a wide range of topics, including transmission markets, management, and ownership structures; interconnection request processes and timelines; transmission planning and operations; and grid fundamentals.|
|05/04/2016||Understanding the Energy Policy and Regulatory Environment||Attendees will learn about federal, regional, and state policies and regulations as they pertain to energy development and how tribal and inter-tribal policies, including community aggregation, can be implemented to ensure a sustainable energy future.|
|05/25/2016||Tribal Business Structures for Financing Projects||There are six different structures available to tribes to diversify their economic portfolios by creating business structures for their energy businesses. No single structure will work for every tribe, or even every tribally owned business. Learn about each of these business structures, their advantages, disadvantages, and examples, as well as how to select the best structure to fit your tribe’s goals and existing codes and laws.|
|06/29/2016||Tribal Clean Energy for Sovereignty and Economic Development||Learn about the economic development potential and job creation benefits of clean energy projects on tribal lands through case studies presented by two Indian tribes with defined long-term energy goals, and discover a modeling tool for quantifying the economic impacts.|
|07/27/2016||Project Development for Long Term Tribal Energy||Speakers cover how to determine project savings and production potential estimates, define project options, refine the project, implement the project, and plan for operations and maintenance.|
|08/31/2016||Project Regulatory Considerations||Learn about the many permitting and project regulatory issues that need to be addressed when developing energy projects.|
|09/28/2016||Strategic Partnerships for Clean Energy and Economic Partnerships||Learn how partnerships can help align economic development and clean energy development strategies and policies, leverage resources, reduce or remove policy and program barriers and silos, and identify the emerging opportunities and challenges clean energy industries face in the near and long term.|
|10/26/2016||Accessing Capital for Tribal Energy and Economic Development||The webinar covered details of financing renewable projects, use of federal and state incentives, and local resources and partnerships that can help develop creative project financing terms and structures. Also it described information on tax credits and incentives available via DOE’s Database for State Incentives for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency.|
|11/30/2016||Energy and Economic Success Studies||Learn about successful projects that contributed to over 320 buildings being audited or retrofitted, moved more than 580 MW of renewable energy projects toward development, assessed the potential for more than 4,000 MW of renewable energy generation, and trained more than 170 tribal members on energy topics.|