The U.S. Department of Energy Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs and WAPA are once again co-sponsoring the Tribal Energy Webinar Series. The 2018 series of 11 webinars focuses on Tribal Sovereignty and Self-Determination through Community Energy Development. The free webinars are held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mountain Time the last Wednesday of each month, beginning in January and concluding in November.
Roughly two million American Indians and Alaska Natives from 567 federally recognized tribes live on or near 56.2 million acres of Indian land. These lands are also rich in energy resources that offer the tribes the opportunity for economic development and greater self-determination. The 2018 webinar series provides these diverse communities with the information and knowledge required to evaluate and prioritize their energy options.
Topics will cover establishing tribal consensus on energy goals and objectives; instituting short and long-range actions; and making informed technical, financial, market, policy, and regulatory decisions. Speakers will present tribal case studies highlighting proven energy development best practices. Attendees will discover tools and resources to facilitate and accelerate community energy and infrastructure development in Indian Country.
Action-oriented program The series begins on Jan. 31 with Office of Indian Energy: Advancing Future Leaders through STEM. This webinar will highlight the college student internship program for Native students interested in energy project planning and development activities. Former interns will talk about their experience with experts in the field and at DOE’s national laboratories, and how the program helped them make a positive impact in Indian Country. Applications are now being accepted through February 19 for the summer 2018 internship opportunity.
The rest of the schedule builds on past series with an emphasis on process, action and community-wide engagement:
“Expanding Tribal Energy Development through Partnerships” is the theme for the 2017 series of 11 webinars. Tribal leaders and staff, as well as anyone interested in working in Indian Country, can participate in the free events. The series supports fiscally responsible energy business and economic development decision-making and promotes information exchange with the 565 federally recognized American Indian and Alaska Native sovereign nations, bands, villages and communities.
As national concerns about energy sufficiency and security have risen, American Indians and Alaska Natives have recognized the potential economic and self-determination benefits of energy resource development on their lands. Tribal lands consist of more than 56 million acres, or 2.3 percent of all land throughout the U.S. An estimated 17.1 million acres hold existing and potential fossil energy and mineral resources and about 5 percent of the country’s technically feasible renewable energy resource potential. Tribes with minimal fossil energy, mineral resources or renewable energy potential could benefit from other energy options, such as energy efficiency, demand-side technologies and collaborative supply arrangements.
Now in its fifth year, the Tribal Energy Webinar Series continues to meet critically important educational needs for tribal communities. Attendees will discover tools and resources for developing and implementing tribal energy plans, programs and projects. Webinars will provide case histories and business strategies tribes can use to expand their energy options and develop sustainable local economies.
The webinars are scheduled February through December on the last Wednesday of the month at 11 a.m. MT. Topics include:
Feb. 22 –Indian Energy: Looking Back and Moving Forward
The first webinar in the series provides an overview of Indian energy in the U.S. and the mission of the IE office. Speakers will cover past successes, future plans and how to add value and streamline government procedures for tribes interested in energy development and self-determination.
March 29 –Federal and State Policy Impacts to Tribal Energy Partnerships
Developing energy resources through partnerships is complex and can affect both tribal and non-tribal communities. Learn about state and federal requirements that could impact energy projects on tribal lands depending on the type of project, location, size and other considerations.
April 26 –Spending Energy Dollars Wisely
Presentations will explore strategies, tools and technical assistance opportunities to develop a deliberate approach to maximizing energy dollars. Tribal guest speakers will share their successes and lessons learned in pursuing, developing and implementing strategic approaches to wise energy investments.
May 31 –What Energy Project is Right for my Tribe?
Learn how to identify appropriate energy projects, from a small renewable generator for a single residence or building to a utility-scale project requiring transmission interconnection and a purchase power agreement. The pros and cons of ownership and leasing, differences among various renewable and conventional technologies and potential project barriers will be covered.
June 28 –Tribal Project Partnerships
Hear about successful partnerships and how the successes can be replicated throughout the U.S. This webinar will be of particular interest to tribal nations and energy industry professionals interested in expanding their energy resource options and increasing economic development and self-determination.
July 26 –Powering Your Community with Tribal Energy
Speakers will address the steps to developing a 1- to 2-megawatt energy project on tribally owned or controlled property to serve the energy needs of the tribal community.
Aug. 30 –University Resources for Tribal Partnerships
Explore how relationships between universities and tribal nations can foster greater economic development, self-determination and energy independence for the tribes. Speakers will talk about successful university programs and initiatives on energy and the environment that are valuable resources to tribes.
Sept. 27 –Fundamentals of Organized Energy Markets for Tribes
Find out how the expansion of establishments such as the Southwest Power Pool and the California Independent System Operator is will create opportunities for those looking for more energy resource options or to buy and sell energy resources, especially on tribal lands.
Oct. 25 –Tribes Working Together
Generation and transmission and joint-action agencies offer business models for jointly owning, procuring and building new transmission and power generation projects Learn about these and other partnership opportunities that can support tribal energy independence and self-determination on tribal lands.
Nov. 29 –Partnerships for Utilities and Tribes Initiative
This webinar introduces a new initiative to facilitate stronger and improved relationships between tribes and the utilities or energy companies that serve them. Another possible benefit of this effort is improved employment of tribal members in utility and energy sector jobs.
Be a part of expanding energy self-determination among our country’s American Indians and Alaska Natives by registering for any or all webinars. There is no charge to attend, but registration is required. Attendees must have internet access, computer compatibility with GoToWebinar software (free download) and a phone line. Recordings of the 2016 webinar series and archived recordings from past years are available to download.
The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) has unveiled an interactive website tracking solar development by electric cooperatives. Offering maps, data, photos and video, the website provides an overview and new details about the recent dramatic increase in cooperative-owned and purchased solar capacity.
Member-owned, not for profit co-ops either have online or are planning to develop 240 megawatts of owned and purchased solar capacity in 34 states. According to NRECA, this development is distinguished by its large footprint, rapid growth and potential for expansion.
“Co-op solar is consumer-owned solar,” said NRECA CEO Jo Ann Emerson. “The solar website shows how the consumer-owned utility business model can spur innovation and expand solar capacity in regions where this resource had previously been written off as too expensive or not viable.”
Highlights of the new website include maps showing the co-op solar footprint, solar projects developed abroad by NRECA International and median income levels and co-op solar development. Visitors will also find a chart showing the cumulative growth of co-op solar capacity, and videos, pictures and stories of significant co-op solar projects throughout the nation.
The website complements NRECA research, funded by the Department of Energy’s SunShot initiative, to develop tools and business strategies to accelerate the deployment of utility-scale solar.
Co-ops are making significant investments in renewable resource generation, using loans from the Rural Utilities Service and other sources. With solar becoming more cost-competitive, electric co-ops are poised to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in new projects. In addition, co-ops purchase renewable energy from large projects such as the 31 MW Cimarron Solar Facility in New Mexico and the 7.7 MW Azalea Solar Power Facility in Georgia.
Source: National Rural Electric Cooperative Association via Renewables Biz, 11/8/14
Attendees will learn about opportunities in the Solar Technologies Program, about Western’s unique borrowing authority for transmission infrastructure granted in the Recovery Act and about transmission issues from the perspective of large-scale solar developers. Participants will also discuss the steps for moving projects forward.
Utilities, real estate developers and transmission providers and should plan to attend this informative session. For more information, or to register for the workshop, please e-mail Peggy Plate or call 970-493-5786 by June 10. You will need to provide your name, professional title, company, address, phone number, e-mail and website URL, if applicable.