Retha Herne is Executive Director of the Akwesasne Housing Authority (AHA) in Hogansburg, New York. With the highest energy costs in the state of New York, the tribe is looking to alternative energy sources to help sustain the community for the long term.
In May 2015 I began serving as Director of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Indian Energy. Since then, I’ve crisscrossed the country visiting American Indian and Alaska Native communities that face a variety of pressing energy challenges.
More than 450 representatives from tribal and state governments, federal agencies, tribal corporations, private industry, utilities, and academia came together to explore tribal energy development and security issues at the National Tribal Energy Summit: A Path to Economic Sovereignty, held Sept. 23–25, 2015, in Washington, D.C.
Over the past year, DOE Office of Indian Energy staff have traveled throughout the contiguous United States and Alaska to help build capacity, deliver energy project technical assistance, and provide information sharing opportunities to tribal communities.
As members of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Indian Energy’s technical assistance team, Sherry Stout and Jared Temanson of DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) recently traveled to the Native village of Rampart, Alaska, to fulfill the Tribe’s request for technical assistance with strategic energy planning.
In the tiny Native village of Oscarville, Alaska, state and federal agencies are joining forces to tackle tough challenges that are endemic to rural Alaska: high energy costs, unemployment, the changing climate, deteriorating and inefficient housing, and lack of infrastructure, to name just a few.