Native Tribes Harness Renewable Energy Projects

The U. S. Department of Energy (DOE) is making nearly $2.5 million available to 18 Native American tribes to advance the use of renewable energy and energy efficient technologies on tribal lands.

“DOE is committed to helping Native American tribes develop their energy resources,” said Secretary of Energy Samuel W. Bodman. “Renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies can play a significant role in encouraging tribal self-sufficiency, creating jobs and improving environmental quality.” One tribe receiving assistance is the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. Tapping the resources of Fire Lake on their reservation in Central Oklahoma, the tribe will use geothermal ground source heat pumps to provide electricity to community buildings and a grocery store. The tribe, the ninth largest tribe in the U.S. with 1,011 members, will also build a 20-by-96-foot greenhouse using previously wasted heat to grow vegetables to sell in the reservation grocery store. Similarly, 17 other tribes were competitively selected to receive DOE funding for developing renewable energy technologies on their reservations, including: – Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association (Alaska) – The Association, federally recognized as a tribal organization of the Aleut people in Alaska, resides in one of the windiest places in the world. Currently, site selection and monitoring is underway in six communities, including Sand Point, St. George, Adak, False Pass, King Cove and Nikolski, to evaluate wind energy development. The impact on nearby seabird colonies is also being studied. – Hualapai Tribe (Ariz.) – The Hualapai plan to establish a tribally operated utility-scale wind farm to provide service to its 9,000-acre tourism facility called Grand Canyon West, which has been without conventional grid power for the last seven years. The formation of a tribal utility will reduce the cost of electrical services and facilitate expansion of Grand Canyon West, thus enhancing the economic benefit for the entire tribe. – Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians (Minn.) – The Red Lake Band wants to develop the capacity of Tribal members to conduct energy audits, to implement energy efficiency improvements in existing tribal homes and to build more energy efficient housing. The advancement of the capacity of Tribal members is seen as a step toward increased energy autonomy and sustainability on the reservation. – Aroostook Band of Micmacs (Maine) – The tribe plans to take advantage of plentiful wind and biomass resources to reduce high energy costs and to move toward energy self-sufficiency and energy security. With the third highest cost of electricity in the U.S. in 2002, the tribe hopes to take advantage of their renewable energy resources as a step toward energy independence. – Grand Traverse Band (Mich.) – The tribe will conduct a feasibility study to determine the cost effectiveness and benefits of energy conservation and expanding the diversity of energy sources to be used at the tribe’s facilities. Use of conservation, along with wind, solar and biomass resources, could save the tribe tens of millions of dollars over the next 20 years. For the complete list of projects, see the following .PDF file at the link below.
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