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Department of Energy Names Director for Office of Indian Energy Policy and Makes Available $2 Million for Clean Energy Projects on Tribal Lands

September 14, 2007 - 2:33pm

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WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Samuel W. Bodman today announced the appointment of Steven J. Morello to be Director of DOE's newly formed Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs.  As Director of this office, Mr. Morello will work to implement and manage energy planning, education and efficiency for American Indian tribes.

Also today, the Secretary announced that DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy would make available a total of up to $2 million for 15 Native American tribes and Alaskan villages that have been selected for negotiation of awards that support the advancement of renewable energy technologies on tribal lands and rural Alaskan villages.

"The creation of the Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs will further assist the Department in reaching all Americans in promoting clean, reliable and affordable energy," Secretary Bodman said. "I look forward to working with Steve to advance and promote clean energy, changing the way we power this nation."

The Indian Energy Policy and Program Office will reside within DOE's Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs where Mr. Morello will also continue to serve as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental and External Affairs.  Most recently, Mr. Morello founded Native Insurance Agency LLC (NIA), a Small Business Association-certified, minority-owned small disadvantaged business, where he served as its Managing Member.  Prior to NIA, Mr. Morello worked in his own law firm, Native Law Group PC, representing his tribe, the Sault Saint Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, among others.

In 2001, Mr. Morello was nominated by President George W. Bush, and later confirmed by the Senate, to be the General Counsel of the U.S. Department of the Army.  In that position, he served as the legal advisor to the Secretary of the Army and the Army's Chief Legal Officer.  A Georgetown University graduate, Mr. Morello received his law degree from the University of Detroit Law School, and earned a Master of Science in Business Administration degree from Boston University.  Mr. Morello also earned a Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies from Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Michigan.

As part of DOE's ongoing commitment to work with Native American tribes and Alaskan villages, the $2 million Secretary Bodman announced today will be invested, subject to negotiations, in renewable energy and energy efficiency projects on tribal lands that support President Bush's Advanced Energy Initiative, which challenges Americans to change the way we power our homes, offices, and vehicles.

"The Department of Energy is committed to encouraging and helping groups develop and deploy clean energy sources," Secretary Bodman said.  "Providing support for Native Americans to explore and employ clean, renewable energy technologies will help increase efficiency and provide for a cleaner environment."

Of the 15 Native American tribes and villages whose projects have been selected for negotiation, six will study the feasibility of utilizing renewable energy technologies on tribal lands; and nine projects will take initial steps toward implementing renewable energy and energy efficiency projects on tribal lands.  The selected projects will receive both financial and technical assistance from DOE.  Since 2001, DOE has provided $12.4 million for 76 tribal energy projects, with tribes contributing an additional $3.6 million.  Read more on DOE's Tribal Energy Program.

Tribes receiving awards for feasibility studies are:

  • Council of Athabascan Tribal Governments (Alaska) - This consortium, consisting of ten Gwich'in and Kouyukon Athabascan tribes settled along the Yukon River, will conduct a feasibility study of biomass-generated heat and power.  The region is rich in forest resources, but electricity costs approximately 46 cents per kilowatt-hour compared to 8.5 cents per kilowatt-hour in Fairbanks.
  • NANA Regional Corporation (Alaska) - The NANA Region of Alaska plan to establish a strategic energy plan and analyze energy options available to tribal members and shareholders.  The region includes eleven communities totaling 7,600 people, many of whom are of Inupiat Eskimo decent.  With this project, the corporation plans to promote the use of renewable resources, especially its abundant supply of wind and geothermal resources, to heighten the tribe's self-determination, while maintaining Inupiat traditional values.
  • Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes (Montana) - The Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation plan to develop a strategic energy plan to incorporate the use of biomass resources that could be used for heating selected facilities.
  • Warm Springs (Central Oregon) - Members of the Warm Springs Reservation plan to develop a comprehensive business plan to build a commercial wind energy facility at Mutton Mountain.  Warm Springs is home to the Warm Springs, Wasco, and Paiute Tribes.  Warm Springs Power and Water Enterprises, a corporate entity owned by the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, have been conducting wind studies on the reservation since 2002.
  • Yurok Tribe (Northwest California) - With nearly 5,000 enrolled members, the Yurok Tribe is the largest in California.  The project will help the tribe assess the feasibility of employing wind and hydroelectric energy technologies to take advantage of the Klamath River, which runs about 50 miles through the reservation.

The following table lists the six projects selected for negotiation of awards that will study the feasibility of utilizing renewable energy technologies on tribal lands.

 

"FEASIBILITY OF RENEWABLE ENERGY PROJECTS ON TRIBAL LANDS"

# NAME* TECHNOLOGY STATE REQUESTED DOE FUNDS** COST SHARE
1 Council of Athabascan Tribal Governments Biomass Heat and Power & Biomass Delivery AK $143,720 $155,000
2 NANA Regional Corporation (Geothermal) Geothermal AK $149,988 $46,840
3 NANA Regional Corporation (Wind) Wind Energy AK $149,990 $88,080
4 Salish & Kootenai Holding Company (Flathead Reservation) Biomass Heating MT $117,070 $4,000
5 Warm Springs Power and Water Enterprises Utility-scale Wind Energy OR $150,000 $75,300
6 Yurok Tribe Hydro & Wind Energy CA $150,000 $18,744

*  Listed in alphabetical order; **

  • Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs (Warm Springs Power & Water Enterprises) (Oregon)  -  The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs project will focus on a 12-month public involvement and building program designed to educate the Tribes on the development process, impacts and benefits of renewable energy.
  • Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (North Carolina) - Funding for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians will develop a comprehensive Tribal Strategic Energy Plan that defines the Tribe's energy vision, goals and objectives; establishes current energy usage and future needs; assesses the full spectrum of renewable and conventional energy opportunities and energy efficiency options; and defines an action plan to reach the defined goals.
  • Interior Regional Housing Authority for Hughes Village Consortium (Alaska) - This project, which includes Hughes (representing the consortium) Birch Creek, Huslia, and Allakaket, will focus on developing an energy management program to reduce energy usage and explore alternative sources for energy.
  • Karuk Tribe of California (California) - This project will assess solar, micro-hydro, woody biomass, and wind energy resources on trust lands within the tribe Ancestral Territory.  The project will also promote energy efficiency and human capacity building with the Karuk Tribe and its communities.
  • Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians (Wisconsin) - This project will focus on energy analysis as the first step toward achieving the tribe commitment to energy self-sufficiency.  This will include analysis of current and future efficiency and renewable energy projects; audits of current energy use and carbon emissions; and development of policy and programs options to improve efficiency.
  • Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians (Wisconsin) - This project will establish a baseline, assess, evaluate, and plan for optimal utilization of efficiency and renewable energy resources and technologies on tribal lands.  Through the development of the energy plan, the tribe will refine its vision for energy use, explore options for technical assistance, and establish long-term goals and objectives.
  • NANA Regional Corporation (Alaska)  - This project will analyze energy consumption needs and patterns, as well as examine energy options through a pre-feasibility analysis of identified renewable resources, non-renewable renewable resources, and energy efficiency measures. Ultimately, a strategic plan will provide stakeholders with a conceptual framework and energy vision for enhancing energy security.
  • Robinson Rancheria Band of Pomo Indians - (California) - This project will support the tribe's commitment to the Lake County Tribal Energy Program, a multi Tribal program. This project aims to promote Tribal energy efficiency and create employment and economic opportunities on Tribal Lands through energy efficiency development.
  • Seneca Nation of Indian  - This funding will support the Seneca Nation's evaluation of forming tribal utility and/or energy services/ production companies and the  most efficient and effective framework within which the energy program will operate.

The following table lists nine projects selected for negotiation of awards that will focus on taking initial steps toward implementing renewable energy and energy efficiency projects on tribal lands.

 

"FIRST STEPS TOWARD DEVELOPING RENEWABLE ENERGY AND ENERGY EFFICIENCY ON TRIBAL LANDS"
  NAME* SCOPE STATE REQUESTED DOE FUNDS** COST SHARE
1 Confederated Tribes of Warm Spring* (Warm Springs Power & Water Enterprises WSPWE) Capacity and Awareness Building (Wind & Geothermal Training) OR $100,000 $34,318
2 Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Strategic Energy Plan NC $100,000 $66,951
3 Hughes Village Council (Consortium of AK Villages) Capacity Building for Efficiency AK $100,000 $45,536
4 Karuk Tribe of California Energy Option Analysis and Conservation CA $97,940 $2,060
5 Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians Energy Options Analysis & Resource Planning WI $56,115 $0
6 Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians Strategic Energy Planning & Energy Options WI $99,423 $33,342
7 NANA Regional Corporation Strategic Energy Plan & Energy Options AK $99,855 $95,920
8 Robinson Rancheria Band of Pomo Indians (Consortium) Strategic Energy Planning & Energy Options CA $100,000 $22,076
9 Seneca Nation of Indians Energy Organization Development NY $100,000 $85,280

Listed in alphabetical order; **

Media contact(s):

Julie Ruggiero, (202) 586-4940

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