Project Overview

Ponca Tribe of Nebraska

Niobrara, NE

Project Title
Project Earth Lover

Type of Application
First Steps (Planning)

DOE Grant Number

Project Amounts
DOE: $110,705
Awardee: $0
Total: $110,705

Project Status

Project Period of Performance
Start: September 2011
End: December 2012


Under this project, the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska (PTN) will conduct an Energy Options Analysis (EOA) to empower tribal leadership with critical information to allow them to effectively screen energy options that will further develop the tribe's long-term strategic plan and energy vision.

The PTN will also provide community workshops to enhance tribal members' capabilities, skills, and awareness of energy efficiency and conservation technology and practices. A 90-minute workshop will be conducted at each of the five sites, and 100 tribal members will receive an energy efficiency kit.

Project Description


The Ponca Tribe of Nebraska is a unique tribe with a service delivery area (SDA) comprising 15 counties located in Nebraska, South Dakota, and Iowa.  There are five main office sites where services are made available to tribal community members. The properties consist of two tribally owned properties held in trust: Niobrara and Lincoln; two tribally owned, not in trust: Omaha & Norfolk; and one leased: Sioux City.

There are approximately 15,595 Native Americans residing in the Ponca SDA, including 1,236 enrolled in the PTN.

Project Objectives

The objectives of the project include:

  • Conducting an Energy Option Analysis
  • Presenting Renewable Energy and Efficiency Community Workshops for tribal members to increase their capacity to implement energy efficiency and conservation techniques in their day-to-day activities
  • Educating the tribal community at community events about energy efficiency and conservation
  • Attending energy efficiency trainings to maintain current knowledge in the energy efficiency and conservation field.

This project will provide the Ponca tribal community with alternative and clean renewable energy sources that will conserve tribal assets, honor their traditional beliefs and empower future generations to continue respecting Mother Earth. 

As a result of the project, tribal leaders will be able to make an informed decision about alternative energy and energy strategies.  In addition, tribal members will obtain skills to adopt energy efficiency and conservation practices that can help reduce the tribe's carbon footprint and increase energy efficiency and conservation on tribal lands. 

Project Scope

Energy Options Analysis Report:

  • Develop a scope of work for the cost analysis
  • Follow the procurement policy to obtain a contractor
  • Contractor develops a cost-benefit analysis related to energy options, comparing the benefits of wind energy installations, solar panel installations, and energy conservation mechanisms (such as improved water heating devices, UtiliGuards, LED lights, etc.)
  • Present Energy Options Analysis Report to tribal leadership and acquire a prioritized project list to pursue potential funding resources

Human Capacity Building:

Community Workshops

  • Utilizing accredited sources of information to develop the curriculum for the workshop, including but not limited to the following topics: what is energy efficiency, why is it important, how can you improve energy efficiency, how energy is lost, and what basic steps can be taken to improve your energy efficiency
  • Procure the energy efficiency kits
  • Create an announcement about the workshops and place it in the monthly tribal newsletter and on the website to determine the demand for the workshop
  • Using the determination of the demand for workshops to develop a schedule for workshops
  • Conduct workshops throughout the service area and distribute energy kits to tribal members

Community Education

  • Develop energy efficiency materials and a professional display of energy FAQs
  • Procure materials for community distribution
  • Schedule and attend each tribal event and pay booth fees as needed


  • Attend the annual U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Tribal Energy Program Review
  • Attend energy efficiency and/or renewable energy training

Project Location

The PTN is a unique tribe with an SDA comprising 15 counties located in Nebraska, South Dakota, and Iowa.  There are five main office sites where services are made available to Tribal Community members. The properties consist of two tribally owned properties held in Trust: Niobrara & Lincoln; two tribally owned, not in Trust: Omaha & Norfolk; and one leased: Sioux City.

Project Status

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

The project was competitively selected under the Tribal Energy Program's fiscal year 2010 funding opportunity announcement "First Steps Toward Developing Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency on Tribal Lands" (DE-FOA-0000422) and started September 1, 2011.

The November 2011 and November 2012 project status reports provide more information.