DOE offers funding to pilot tribal technical assistance

Deadline: April 14, 2016

Update: Slides from the March I informational webinar are available online. Download to learn about eligibility requirements and essential details of the application process.

Up to $7 million in funding is available to Indian tribes and Alaska Native Villages to develop a Technical Assistance Energy Providers Network. This pilot project by the Department of Energy Office of Indian Energy is intended to train regional energy experts to provide the tribes with technical energy assistance and informational resources.

As part of these inter-tribal regional programs, the energy experts would:

  1. Coordinate energy solutions among participating Indian tribes (including Alaska Native villages) within the region;
  2. Deliver technical assistance to participating tribes within the region;
  3. Build the human capacity of participating tribes by providing information to tribal leaders and staff through workshops or webinars;
  4. Serve as an information clearinghouse for participating Indian tribes;
  5. Network with regional and national energy organizations;
  6. Advise DOE’s Office of Indian Energy on the energy goals and needs within their region; and
  7. Enhance DOE’s technical assistance network across Indian Country.

Applications are due April 14, 2016, and must be submitted through EERE Exchange, DOE’s online application portal.

Source: DOE Office of Indian Energy, 2/15/16

Inter-Tribal Utility Gathering focuses on energy development

March 30-April 1
Rosebud Casino
Rosebud, South Dakota

The Rosebud Sioux Tribal Utility is bringing Native American tribes together to discuss energy issues.
The Rosebud Sioux Tribal Utility is bringing Native American tribes together to discuss energy issues.

Foundations for Tribal Energy Development” is the theme for the second annual Inter-Tribal Utility Gathering and Utilities Forum at the Rosebud Casino, March 30 to April 1, 2016.

Hosted by the Rosebud Sioux Tribal Utility Commission, the agenda will cover tribal utility regulation, tribal renewable energy projects, alternative land appraisal methods, changes to the Code of Federal Regulations right-of-ways rule, a report from the Government Accountability Office and more.

Register before March 18 to receive the early-bird fee of $225. After March 18, the cost is $300 to attend. Lunch and refreshments for both days will be provided. Sponsorships are also available.

For registration, sponsorship and hotel information, contact the RST Utility Commission at 605-856-2727.

Tribal leader forum, renewables workshop scheduled in New Mexico

Albuquerque, NM
July 27-29

The Tribal Energy Program and the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Indian Energy have teamed up with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to host two back-to-back events for Native American tribes interested in developing renewable energy on their lands. The Tribal Leader Forum on Tribal Energy and Economic Development: Tribal Utility Formation will take place July 27, followed by the Community-Scale Tribal Renewable Energy Workshop July 28-29.

How to start a utility
The Tribal Leader Forum, at the Pueblo Cultural Center Redirecting to a non-government site in Albuquerque, is the 11th in a series of planned strategic energy development forums sponsored by the Office of Indian Energy.  The focus will be on the tribal utility as a structure for long-term economic growth to meet the needs of tribal communities. Tribal leaders and staff will have the opportunity to interact with other tribes, federal agencies and energy industry experts to learn more about tribal utility formation and regulation.

A blend of informative sessions and interactive roundtables will bring beginners and experienced practitioners together for a national dialogue on fundamentals and best practices for tribal utilities. Forum objectives include:

  • Exploring the fundamental opportunities and challenges of capturing the benefits of tribal energy from the perspective of tribal utilities
  • Gaining a better understanding of the role, function and power of the tribal utility in achieving tribal policies
  • Establishing an ongoing dialogue among tribal leaders to help shape the future of tribal energy and tribal utilities.

Focus on five steps
The Community-Scale Tribal Renewable Energy Workshop, July 28-29, is a unique opportunity to learn from renewable energy project experts. Attendees will get hands-on experience using technology resource assessment tools, explore project case studies and hear about lessons learned from other tribes.

The interactive workshop is based on a dynamic new curriculum designed to walk participants through the five steps necessary to develop and finance renewable energy projects on tribal lands:

  •  Assessing project potential
  • Determining technology options
  • Refining the project
  • Implementing financing and construction
  • Planning for project operation and maintenance

This event will be held at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Albuquerque Historic Old Town, and feature a tour of Sandia National Laboratories. Coffee, a light breakfast, lunch, and an afternoon snack are included in the registration fee.

Register today!
The forum and workshop are limited to elected tribal leaders, tribal executives and tribal staff. There is no cost to attend, but registration is required. RSVP now to secure your spot by email or by calling 303-275-3005.

Lodging available
The Holiday Inn Express & Suites Albuquerque Historic Old Town is offering a limited block of rooms at a discounted rate of $94.99 single or double occupancy per room per night. A limited number of government per diem rate rooms are also available upon request. Make reservations by calling 505-842-5000.

Source: DOE Office of Indian Energy, 7/6/15

Webinar series answers tribes’ questions about renewable energy projects

One of the most important things we do at Western—after providing low-cost federal hydropower to public power utilities—is to help our customers manage their resources in a rapidly changing world. Now in its fourth year, the Tribal Renewable Energy Webinar Series is helping Native American tribes to gain a clear picture of a complex industry and build business relationships needed to develop the renewable resources on their lands.

Western has partnered with the Department of Energy Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs to present tribal members and stakeholders with valuable, practical knowledge about renewable energy technologies, markets and policies. Since 2011, the series has covered every aspect of project development, from resource and site evaluation to transmission access and interconnection to power marketing. The current series, Knowledge to Energy: The Path to Projects, builds on the material presented in the previous years to focus on best practices, case studies, regulatory issues and business and financing models.

Successful outreach
This cost-effective approach to technical assistance has reached thousands of Native American representatives and interested stakeholders. More than 3,500 tribal members participated in the 2014 series alone, and 2015 is off to a promising start, said Western Renewable Energy Program Manager and Webinar Series Chair Randy Manion. “We’ve received many notes of thanks and appreciation already for the first two webinars,” he commented. “We spend several months planning these series to ensure topics are on target, timely and useful in moving renewable projects forward on tribal lands.”

The January webinar, Best Practices in Developing a Tribal Strategic Energy Plan, had particular significance to a tribal representative located in Western’s Upper Great Plains Region. “He told me afterward that the tribe is developing a strategic energy plan, and the webinar made him realize the importance of community input in planning,” recalled Manion. “Those positive feedbacks happen after each webinar, and they are confirmations that we are on the right track with our topics and speakers.”

Manion explained that during the last four years, the question-and-answer sessions during the webinar and feedback afterward have helped the planning committee to hone in on what interests the tribes. Recruiting speakers, while still a formidable task, is getting easier as the series gains recognition for its high quality. “More tribal leaders and staff are joining the experts on the agenda,” he said. “We see an uptick in audience interaction and interest when the participants have a chance to talk to peers about their experiences developing projects.”

The growing number of tribes with their own experience is another indication of the success of the webinar series. “Getting tribal members to participate as presenters for the webinars has been a priority for the series this year,” Manion acknowledged.

The series has helped tribes to better understand what they need to reach full or partial energy self-sufficiency—a high priority on tribal lands—and to keep that momentum going during changes in tribal councils and leadership positions. “We are also bridging awareness within the energy industry of what tribes are doing successfully, who they are and how to work with them,” added Manion.

Like many outreach programs intended to help customers, the Tribal Webinar Series has been good for the sponsoring agencies as well. Western’s Power Marketing representatives have observed that what tribes learn from the webinars about renewable energy issues increases their understanding of hydropower marketing and transmission issues.

More than talk—action!
The benefits of the webinar series extend beyond better communication about energy development to an increase in requests for technical assistance from the federal sponsors. Western has conducted several pre-feasibility transmission studies in support of potential renewable energy projects on tribal lands. These studies help tribes determine the probable size, interconnection and feasibility of proposed renewable projects, and also assist in the search for financing and potential buyers for the generation.

“Our technical assistance to Native American Tribes is not limited to pre-feasibility transmission studies and webinars,” Manion said. “With the funding Western receives from the DOE Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs, we are open to considering other requests.”

For example, Western has conducted four prefeasibility studies for tribal utility formation. Two of the tribes are now independently moving forward to the next level of analysis. Also, the Energy Management and Marketing Office in Western’s Desert Southwest Region is conducting a market assessment to remove barriers and identify opportunities for tribal renewable energy projects that could interconnect with the ED5-Palo Verde Hub Transmission Project, funded by the Transmission Infrastructure Program.

Tribes interested in receiving technical assistance need to complete a simple TA form on the DOE Office of Indian Energy and Policy Program website. If DOE believes that Western can complete the request, it is forwarded to Manion who coordinates appropriate colleagues in an internal review to determine if it is suitable for Western to act on the request. In some cases, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory or another federal entity may be better equipped to handle the request. DOE, NREL and Western staff confer extensively with the requesting tribe before making the decision as to whether the request is a good fit for the agencies.

Native American tribes are poised to play a greater role in meeting the nation’s need for low-carbon, home-grown energy resources. At the same time, developing renewable energy projects is a way for tribes to grow their local economy and improve the quality of life in Indian Country. Western and the DOE Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs are pleased to provide technical assistance such as the Tribal Renewable Energy Webinar Series to move tribes closer to these goals.

The Tribal Renewable Energy Webinar Series is usually scheduled for the last Wednesday of each month, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Mountain Time. There is no cost to attend, but you must register in advance. Presentations and audio files from past webinars can be found in the Renewable Energy Program webinar library.

Energy Department to Help Tribes Advance Clean Energy Projects and Increase Resiliency

As part of the Obama Administration’s efforts to help tribal communities nationwide enhance their energy security and build a sustainable energy future, the U.S. Department of Energy today announced the third round of Strategic Technical Assistance Response Team (START) Renewable Energy Project Development Assistance, which provides federally recognized tribal governments and other tribal entities with on-the-ground support to accelerate clean energy project deployment. Read more.

Applications are due to the DOE Office of Indian Energy by May 1, 2015. Up to five projects will be selected by late June 2015. Technical assistance will be provided from July 2015 through August 2016.

Source: Department of Energy, 2/25/15

Dates change for spring tribal renewable energy webinars

The Tribal Renewable Energy Webinar Series has rescheduled two upcoming webinars. Renewable Energy Project Framework: The Five Step Process previously planned for March 26, will now air on April 2.  The April 30 webinar, Identifying Project Potential and Options, is being moved to April 26. Both events will take place at 11 a.m. MDT.

Early birds who have already registered for these two webinars do not need to register again. Those who were unable to attend on the original dates now have a second chance. The April 2 webinar will introduce participants to the key steps that lead to success in energy project development. The first two steps will be covered in depth during the April 26 webinar.

Following the live events, recordings and presentations are posted in the Renewables Program webinar library. Visitors can review the material at their convenience, but need to download the GoTo Meeting codec to access the recordings.


DOE announces 2014 Tribal Renewable Energy Webinar Series

The popular Tribal Renewable Energy Webinar series returns for its third year on Nov. 27 with Information Available for Tribal Energy Project Development Redirecting to a non-government site, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Mountain Time.

This online event will explore the “go to” resources that tribes can use within the Department of Energy (DOE), and in other federal, state and local offices to help get their projects on line.  Presentations will cover DOE’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Program resources, Strategic Technical Assistance Response Team Programs, Tribal Energy Education Programs, Tribal Leader and Best Practices Forums, among other resources. Attendees will also learn about the latest developments in DOE’s renewable energy education curriculum for tribes Redirecting to a non-government site.

DOE’s Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs, Tribal Energy Program and Western Area Power Administration are presenting this series on the last Wednesday of each month. The series expands on the information presented in the 2012 and 2013 webinars, with a focus on issues related to facility and community renewable tribal energy projects.

Tribal leaders and staff who are interested in developing facility or community-scale energy projects should register today for this free event. Participants must have internet access and an open phone line.

DOE Awards $6.5 Million for Tribal Clean Energy

DOE announced on Feb. 16 that 19 clean energy projects by tribal nations would receive more than $6.5 million to support tribal energy development. The competitively selected projects in 10 states will allow American Indian tribes to assess local energy resources, develop renewable energy projects and deploy clean energy technologies within their communities. The projects will help save money and create new job and business opportunities.

The projects selected for awards fall under three project areas:

  • Feasibility studies
  • Renewable energy development projects
  • Installation projects

Thirteen tribes will use the funds to study the feasibility of developing renewable energy resources or installing renewable energy systems on their lands to reduce energy use by 30 percent. For example, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of Pablo, Mont., will evaluate the technical and economic viability of a co-generation biomass-fuel power plant that uses fuels from tribal forest management activities to provide up to 20 megawatts (MW) of electricity.

Three renewable energy development projects will receive pre-construction funds for new renewable energy generation and one will significantly cut the need for diesel heating fuel. In one case, the Penobscot Indian Nation in Old Town, Maine, will complete the preparation needed to secure funding for the proposed 227-megawatt Alder Stream Wind Project.

Also receiving funding are two projects to deploy technologies that convert waste and biomass into energy. The Oneida Seven Generations Corp., De Pere, Wis., will build a state-of-the-art waste gasification energy recovery facility capable of converting 150 tons of municipal waste into 5 MW of electricity per hour. See the DOE press release, the Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs, and the project descriptions.

Source: DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, 2/22/12

Energy self-sufficiency the topic of tribal webinar series

Join Western, the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs, DOE’s Tribal Energy Program for a free webinar, Overview of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Green Power Program, Jan. 25, 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM MST.

 This event is part of an ongoing series of webinars to promote tribal energy sufficiency and foster economic development and employment on tribal lands through renewable energy and energy-efficiency technologies. The webinars will:

  • Discuss methods for tribes to evaluate and develop their renewable energy resources,
  • Help them build the knowledge and skills essential for sustainable energy projects,
  • Outline a process of strategic energy planning for tribes interested in improving their energy security, sovereignty and local economy,
  • Provide renewable energy and energy-efficiency information for tribal decision makers, and
  • Offer ways for tribes and utilities to partner in renewable energy and energy-efficiency development.

The webinar series began in August 2011 and will continue through September 2012.  Future topics include:

Feb. 29 – Unwinding Transmission Policies
Learn what transmission policy is, how it is established and who enforces it. Discussions will cover today’s policy issues, such as Order 1000 (Transmission Planning and Cost Allocation), and their potential impact on transmission resources. Register now.

March 28 – Understanding the Interconnection and Transmission Service Queues
Western Area Power Administration has more than 16,000 megawatts of proposed renewable resources in its collective Large Generator Interconnection Queues, representing more than 79 requests. Learn about the procedure for interconnection, how to request transmission service and what tribes can do to gain access to the transmission system. Register now.

May 30 – Today’s Energy Supply – Yesterday’s Grid
Join an informative discussion on how utilities’ generation portfolios are changing—often faster than the grid infrastructure that supports it. Learn how grid operators are integrating new generation and demand (load) response technologies into a system that was not designed for these tasks. Presentations will include transmission studies from the Western Grid Group and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Register now.

July 25 – Grid Reliability – Impacts to Tribal Renewable Projects
In 2008, NERC Reliability Standards Compliance became mandatory, with fines for non-compliance. This has raised the importance of compliance programs throughout the electric industry. This webinar provides an overview of the purpose and organization of a compliance program, and how tribal renewable projects can be impacted by reliability requirements. Register now.

Sept. 26 – DOE Office of Indian Energy’s START Program Status Updates
Get your update on the DOE Office of Indian Energy’s Strategic Technical Assistance Response Team (START) and the range of projects that were selected in 2012. START and Alaska START aim to advance clean energy generation in Indian Country by providing Native American tribes and Alaska Native governments with strategic technical assistance. Register now.

Presentations from past webinars are available from the Public Renewables Partnership and will be updated with each webinar.

The EPA Green Power Partnership is a voluntary program that supports commercial and institutional energy users’ procurement of green power by offering expert advice, technical support, tools and resources.

Webinar offers tribes guidance for winning utility renewable RFPs

Join Western and the DOE Tribal Energy Program for a FREE webinar, Aug. 17, on Challenges and Opportunities with Tribal Renewable Energy Development, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mountain Time.

Utilities in Western’s 15-state territory need renewable energy and renewable energy certificates to meet goals and mandates. Native American tribes have abundant renewable resources on tribal lands, and jobs and economic development would come from building generation projects. This webinar is for tribes who are interested in responding to renewable Requests for Proposals from utilities, or who simply want to learn more about the competitive power market. 

There are many challenges that beset renewable project development—from transmission interconnection and availability to conditions that are unique to each tribe. Speakers from utilities, government agencies and developers will offer their perspectives on how tribes can navigate the obstacles to create winning partnerships that result in successful tribal renewable projects. Expect frank discussions on what utilities expect in a tribal proposal to a renewable RFP, along with examples of success. See the full agenda.

Register online, or contact Guy Nelson at 541-994-4670 or 541-921-1127 for more information. Due to limited space, early registration is STRONGLY encouraged.