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July 16, 2015
Indian Energy Blog

Read Office of Indian Energy blogs.

April 28, 2016
Office of Indian Energy Chris Deschene (third from the right) was among those in attendance at a groundbreaking ceremony the Seneca Nation of Indians held for its 1.5-MW wind turbine on April 27. Photo by Ken Parker, Food Is Our Medicine.
Seneca Nation of Indians Leverages DOE Support for Wind Turbine Project

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.

April 26, 2016
Village of Chefornak, Alaska. Photo from Lovina Tunuchuk, flickr
Thirteen Alaska Community Efficiency Champions Selected to Receive Technical Assistance from the Energy Department

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.

April 26, 2016
Alaska Energy Champion: Jed Drolet

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.

April 19, 2016
Film Tells the Story of Indian Country’s Energy Development from the Native Perspective

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).

March 29, 2016
Touring First Solar's 250-megawatt Moapa Southern Paiute Solar Project located on the Moapa River Reservation. From left to right: Office of Indian Energy Director Chris Deschene, Office of Indian Energy Senior Policy Advisor Doug MacCourt, National Renewable Energy Laboratory Engineer Sherry Stout, Moapa Band of Paiutes Vice Chairman Greg Anderson, and Office of Indian Energy 48 Contiguous States Program Manager Sarai Geary. Photo from Sam Scucci, First Solar
Solar Project Provides Jobs and Training for Moapa Band of Paiute Indians

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.

March 24, 2016
Insulation is a key element of weatherization because it provides resistance to heat flow which lowers a family’s heating and cooling costs. Insulation is especially important for homes in arctic climates, like this home in Alaska. The Energy Department's Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) and its network of Alaskan service providers are working to improve the condition of the state’s affordable housing stock, while reducing utility bills for low-income Alaskans.
Energy Department Supports Efficiency Upgrades in Alaska’s Lake and Peninsula Borough

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.

March 10, 2016
Kodiak Island, Alaska. Photo by Andrew Petersen.
Workshop Explores Energy Project Financing Options for Southwest Alaska

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.

March 9, 2016
Energy Department financial support for Alaska is helping remote facilities like the Toksook Bay Well House to identify critical savings opportunities with energy monitoring software. Toksook Bay has a population of about 600.
Building Energy Monitoring Software Aids Native Alaskan Villages

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.

March 1, 2016
Concept drawing of the Agua Caliente Band’s Heritage Plaza Parking Lot Project, which involves installing solar arrays, partly funded by a DOE grant, on carport shade structures. Photo from Larry Fossum, Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians.
Agua Caliente Band's Pursuit of Energy Self-Sufficiency Gains Momentum

The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians in the Palm Springs area of California is a shining example of the type of leadership tribes can provide on the clean energy development front.

February 18, 2016
Energy Department Secretary Ernest Moniz visited Alaska this week and recognized the Community Efficiency Champions who have pledged to improve energy efficiency and lower energy costs through the Remote Alaskan Communities Energy Efficiency Competition.
Community Efficiency Champions Designated in Alaska

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.

February 12, 2016
The Yukon River Inter-tribal Watershed Council replaced the village store's existing forced-air furnace with high-efficiency boilers and retrofitted the lighting.
Sustaining a Vision: DOE Funding Boosts Building Energy Efficiency in Yukon River Basin

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.

February 2, 2016
Fort Yukon Gains Heat and Insight with Biomass Project

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.

February 2, 2016
Alaska Energy Champion: Karen Johnson

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.

January 19, 2016
Photo by Deb Lastowka, NREL.
Winning the Future: Tonto Apache Tribe Uses DOE Funding to Gain Momentum on Solar Energy Development

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.

December 21, 2015
New Energy Department competition to help rural Alaskan communities save energy and fight climate change. | Graphic by <a href="/node/1332956">Carly Wilkins</a>, Energy Department
Working with Alaska to Reduce Energy Use and #ActOnClimate

New Energy Department competition to help rural Alaskan communities save energy and fight climate change.

December 17, 2015
Shishmaref Gets DOE Support on Energy and Climate Resiliency

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.

Challenges:

December 1, 2015
Solar Projects on the Rise for New Mexico’s Picuris and Zia Pueblos

The Picuris Pueblo built its first net zero energy building, a solar-powered fire station and renovated gymnasium with the help of DOE Office of Indian Energy's START Program.

November 5, 2015
President Obama Announces New Advances and Commitments to Support Tribes at White House Tribal Nations Conference

The White House brought together tribal leaders from federally recognized tribes to participate in the 7th Annual White House Tribal Nations Conference on Nov. 5, 2015.

October 28, 2015
Energy-efficient homes in AHA’s Sunrise Acres Complex include such features as rooftop solar domestic hot water. Photo from Akwesasne Housing Authority.
Leading the Charge: Akwesasne Housing Authority Director Retha Herne

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.

October 22, 2015
Leading the Charge: Doug MacCourt Advises Tribes on Energy Policy

Leading the Charge is a regular feature spotlighting the movers and shakers in energy development on tribal lands.

October 22, 2015
Winning the Future: Navajo-Hopi Land Commission Leverages DOE Grant to Advance Solar Ranch Project

Under the Navajo-Hopi Land Settlement Act of 1974 for the Paragon-Bisti Ranch was set aside for the benefit of Navajo families (relocatees) living on Hopi Partitioned Lands. Now, more than 40 years later, the Navajo Nation is pursuing plans to use those resource-rich lands to cultivate clean, renewable energy.

October 22, 2015
Message from the Director

ChrisDeschene.pngIn 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.

October 22, 2015
Tribal Energy Summit Tackles Challenges, Explores Opportunities on Path to Economic Sovereignty

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.

October 16, 2015
Indian Country Energy Roundup: FY15 Year in Review

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.

October 7, 2015
Gwitchyaa Zhee Gwich’in Tribal Government Counteracts High Energy Costs, Climate Challenges with Building Energy Retrofits

Seeking to reduce its reliance on imported diesel fuel and to lower operating costs, increase quality of life, and serve as a model of self-sufficiency for local youth and surrounding communities, Gwitchyaa Zhee Gwich’in Tribe applied for and was awarded a $125,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Tribal Energy Program to supplement the tribe’s investment in a quarter-million-dollar energy efficiency and renewable energy project.

August 28, 2013
Thanks to the Energy Department's Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program, the city of Dallas has improved the efficiency of more than 200 city-owned buildings, saving $1 million a year in energy costs. | Photo courtesy of the City of Dallas.
Dallas: Building a Greener City

Learn how Dallas is becoming a leader in sustainability.

July 30, 2013
As a Laboratory Fellow at the Energy Department's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Pete McGrail and his team are working to develop a more efficient adsorption chiller that could help the Navy cut its fuel costs. | Photo courtesy of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.
PNNL Helps the Navy Stay Cool and Conserve Fuel

Researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory are developing a more efficient air conditioner that could help the U.S. military cut its fuel use.

July 29, 2013
Taking Battery Technology from the Lab to the Big City

A small New York City startup is hoping it has the next big solution in energy storage. A video documents what the company's breakthrough means for the future of grid-scale energy storage.

July 17, 2013
Pictured here is Michael Brambley in front of equipment that supplies chilled water to PNNL Building Diagnostics Laboratory's air handler. The cooled air from an air handler is distributed to terminal boxes, which are the last point for controlling air temperature and flow before distributing it throughout a building zone. In a new control strategy for commercial buildings, the terminal boxes would process the information collected by occupancy sensors to control the air handler's fan speed for energy savings. | Photo courtesy of Kristin Nolan, freelancer.
10 Questions for a Mechanical Engineer: Michael Brambley

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.

July 16, 2013
General Leslie Groves and J. Robert Oppenheimer are pictured here at the Trinity Test site in New Mexico, 1945.
New Manhattan Project Resource Page Launched

On the 68th anniversary of the birth of the atomic age, read up on the history of the Manhattan Project through this new resource page.

July 9, 2013
Thanks to funding from the Energy Department's Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program, Ormond Beach was able to make energy efficiency upgrades to 16 city-owned buildings and is now saving more than $45,000 a year on its energy costs. | Photo courtesy of the City of Ormond Beach, Florida.
Ormond Beach Triples Energy Cost Savings Projections

With help from the Energy Department, a Florida city is saving energy and encouraging its residents to do the same.

June 25, 2013
Urban Electric Power Takes Energy Storage from Startup to Grid-Scale

Learn how a New York startup is trying to change the way we store energy.

June 18, 2013
With the help of Kentucky Clean Fuels Coalition, Mammoth Cave National Park was the first National Park fleet to use 100 percent alternative fuel. The Global Electric Motorcar (pictured above) is used by park rangers who need to travel between the Mammoth Cave Campground and the Visitor Center area. | Photo courtesy of Victor Peek Photography.
Transitioning Kentucky Off Oil: An Interview with Clean Cities Coordinator Melissa Howell

As part of the blog series celebrating Clean Cities' 20th anniversary, we interviewed Clean Cities Coordinator Melissa Howell to learn how she is helping transition Kentucky off oil.

May 30, 2013
Waste hauler Enviro Express converted its fleet of heavy-duty trucks to run on liquefied natural gas (LNG) and built the first LNG station east of the Mississippi River with help from the Energy Department's Clean Cities initiative. | Photo courtesy of New Haven Clean Cities Coalition.
Clean Cities Moving Fleets Forward with Liquefied Natural Gas

Learn how local Clean Cities coalitions are helping companies save money on fuel costs and reduce their emissions by switching their fleets to run on liquefied natural gas.