Did you know that 5% of the nation’s natural resources (water, forest, sun and wind) are located in Indian Country? That’s pretty huge, considering we represent less than 1% of the population. Why is that important to us? Because these renewable energy opportunities provide energy, create jobs and improve tribal economies.
Providing energy for our communities
A lot of tribes throughout the United States already use renewable energy to generate power. In some instances, renewable energy is providing power to areas that are located too far out to access the electric grid – like parts of the Navajo Nation. In other instances, tribes are utilizing renewables to cut back electricity costs by supplementing with alternative energy sources such as hydro, wind, solar and bio. But that’s not all, some tribes are developing large projects to sell power in areas where energy prices are high.
Creating jobs for tribal members
Renewable energy projects generate a variety of jobs in our communities before, during and after construction. Generally, jobs in the early phases of renewable energy include things like planning, grant writing, and project management, just to name a few. Once projects reach the construction phase, jobs are available in labor and installation. Completed projects create maintenance and reporting positions.
Improving tribal economies
Renewable energy improves our tribal economies. When jobs are created, employment for tribal members means money for families. Providing alternative energy to tribal members reduces electricity costs. Large/Utility-scale energy projects generate money for tribal programs and community development.
So, you can see, there are huge opportunities for Tribes with renewable energy. If you’re interested in learning more, check out the following resources.