You are here

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 and online curriculum.

View information on the 2018 Tribal Sovereignty and Self-Determination through Community Energy Development webinar series below, or access past webinars.

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
January 31

Office of Indian Energy: Advancing Future Leaders through STEM

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

Steps Toward Your Tribal Community Energy Future

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.
March 28

Energy Opportunities in Tribal Housing

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.

April 25

Best Practices in Tribal Energy Business Models 

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.

May 30

Understanding the Power Grid and Organized Markets

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.

June 27

Evaluating Tribal Utility Authority Opportunities 

Many American Indian 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 imminent domain, license dams, and negotiate right-of-way agreements.

July 25

Request For Proposal (RFP) Strategies for Tribal Community Energy Projects

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.

August 29

Utility-Scale 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.

September 26

Facility- and Community-Scale Project Development

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.

October 31

Distributed Energy Technology Trends and Costs

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.

November 28

Tribal Microgrid Case Studies

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.