Last month, with support from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Indian Energy, I had the privilege of taking my students from the Buckland School to the Alaska Rural Energy Conference in Fairbanks. Students presented to conference attendees and watched presentations from national, regional, state, and local energy experts that tied into the clean energy issues they are studying as part of the Alaska Humanities Forum Sister School Exchange program.
Tribal housing authorities often play a major role in facilitating energy development projects for the communities they serve. In fact, of the 16 projects selected to receive funding from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Indian Energy in March, two are headed up by housing authorities.
The Office of Indian Energy is proud to stand behind the visionary leadership exemplified by the American Indian and Alaska Native communities recently selected to receive U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) funding and technical assistance for a diverse array of energy projects.
There is no formulaic approach for achieving tribal energy sufficiency. After all, each American Indian and Alaska Native community has its own unique energy resources, challenges, and goals. Many Indian tribes have made considerable progress toward achieving their energy goals. Take the Bishop Paiute Tribe as an example. This community, located at the foot of the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains in California, must be doing something right. The Tribe is rapidly approaching the 100th residential solar installation on its 523-household Reservation.
The Blue Lake Rancheria (Tribe) is on the fast track to a clean energy future, and on May 3, 2016, the Tribe hit a new milestone as construction of its 500-kilowatt (kW) solar array got underway. The solar system is a cornerstone of the Tribe’s low-carbon, community-scale microgrid project, scheduled to be online by year-end.
The Seneca Nation sought support from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to develop a strategic energy plan. The Seneca Nation of Indians was competitively selected for a First Steps grant to develop its vision of energy self-sufficiency, quantify its energy needs and resources, and identify its energy options.
Today, at the 2016 Alaska Rural Energy Conference in Fairbanks, I had the pleasure of announcing 13 communities selected to receive technical assistance as part of the Remote Alaska Communities Energy Efficiency (RACEE) Competition. The RACEE Competition is a $4 million joint effort between the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Indian Energy and the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy focused on significantly accelerating efforts by remote Alaskan communities to adopt sustainable energy strategies.
Change doesn’t happen on its own. It’s led by dedicated and passionate people who are championing innovative solutions to Alaska’s energy challenges. Alaska Energy Champions is a regular feature spotlighting pioneers of Alaska’s new energy frontier.
On April 13, the documentary “Red Power Energy” made its debut as the first film in the International Institute for Indigenous Resource Management’s 2016 Indigenous Film Series. Shown on the oversized screen at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science’s Phipps Theater, the film delivered an impactful, larger-than-life portrait of renewable and nonrenewable energy development in Indian Country today. Among the tribes featured were the Crow Nation (Montana); Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation (North Dakota); Northern Cheyenne (Montana); Oglala Lakota Nation (South Dakota); Rosebud Sioux (South Dakota); Shoshone and Arapaho Tribes of the Wind River Reservation (North Dakota); and Southern Ute (Colorado).
Last week, the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Indian Energy hosted a two-day energy track and booth at the National Reservation Economic Summit (RES) in Las Vegas. After a busy few days at the conference, I had the opportunity to join Office of Indian Energy Director Chris Deschene, Senior Policy Advisor Doug MacCourt, and Program Manager Sarai Geary on a visit to a solar project on the Moapa River Reservation.
Effective insulation can result in big savings in heating and cooling costs, especially in arctic climates such as Alaska. The Energy Department's Weatherization Assistance Program is helping cold-weather families reduce their utility bills while improving the health of their homes.
Last week, the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Indian Energy hosted a Project Development and Finance workshop in conjunction with the Southwest Alaska Municipal Conference (SWAMC) Annual Economic Summit in Anchorage, Alaska.
Energy Department financial aid to improve energy efficiency and renewable energy is especially critical in Alaska because harsh climate and the enormity of the state complicates fuel and electricity distribution, resulting in some of the highest energy prices in the country. A portion of Energy Department aid to Alaska is helping with the development and testing of building energy monitoring software to increase a building efficiency and performance. The software is already being widely applied in Alaskan Native villages, cutting energy costs and providing other vital services.
As part of the Energy Department's Remote Alaskan Communities Energy Efficiency Competition, 64 communities ranging in population from 34 to 3,200 were recognized as Community Efficiency Champions this week during a visit by Energy Department Secretary Ernest Moniz. All of the communities have pledged to reduce per capita energy use by 15 percent by 2020 and are competing to be one of five communities awarded up to $3.1 million to achieve energy goals that help mitigate Alaska's high energy costs.
The Yukon River Inter-tribal Watershed Council (YRITWC) is a coalition of sovereign tribal and First Nations governments founded in 1997 to increase indigenous communities' resiliency in the Yukon River Basin. In 2009, the YRITWC partnered with the Cold Climate Housing Research Center to integrate renewable energy into innovative arctic housing design in the community of Anaktuvuk Pass, Alaska.
In 2005, residents of the Native Village of Fort Yukon were seeking a better, less costly way to heat the village’s common buildings and shared water system. At that time, leaders of the 600-person community eight miles north of the Arctic Circle began researching more efficient fuel options than diesel or fuel oil for their village, which is accessible by boat during the summer but only via snowmobiles and airplanes in the winter.
Change doesn’t happen on its own. It’s led by dedicated and passionate people who are championing innovative solutions to Alaska’s energy challenges. Alaska Energy Champions is a regular feature in the Office of Indian Energy's Alaska Energy Pioneer newsletter that spotlights pioneers of Alaska’s new energy frontier. This issue features Karen Johnson, program manager at the Denali Commission.
The Tonto Apache Tribe in Payson, Arizona, undertook a decades-long reservation infrastructure development effort that is still ongoing. In 2004, the small tribe was still actively looking for ways to fulfill its long-term vision, which is focused on sustainability and residential growth.
To say the Alaska Native village of Shishmaref is remote would be an understatement. The traditional Inupiat village sits on a barrier island about 20 miles below the Arctic Circle and the only way in or out is by boat or plane, which involves an hour-long flight from Nome. There’s only one paved road on the island; the rest of the streets are sand and most people get around on ATVs and dirt bikes, or in the winter, snowmobiles.
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.
As a researcher at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Dr. Michael Brambley is working to improve the energy efficiency of our nation’s buildings. In this "10 Questions," learn how he is marrying engineering and computer technology to cut energy waste in commercial buildings.