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.
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.
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.
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.
A short interview with Brian Lipscomb, president and CEO of Energy Keepers, Inc., a tribal corporation established in the fall of 2012 to manage the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes’ (CSKT’s) planned acquisition of Kerr Dam.
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.
NPR interviewed Sandra-Begay Campbell, a Navajo tribal member who manages the Tribal Energy Program at DOE’s Sandia National Laboratories, about the technical and financial barriers associated with running transmission lines to remote, sparsely populated areas of Indian reservations.
The DOE Office of Indian Energy hosted a second round of tribal consultations and outreach meetings throughout Alaska in February and March to gather input on the National Strategy for the Arctic Region (NSAR).
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.