The Energy Sovereignty Institute (MSL’s partnership with the Sustainable Native Communities Collaborative) is developing an online information clearinghouse and resource-base to assist Native American communities in energy planning and deployments. With financial support from Cornerstones Community Foundation’s Solar Initiative and Remy’s Good Day Fund, ESI will create a prototype platform designed to increase tribal members’ and energy planners’ effectiveness by providing ready access to useful information and resources, and to accelerate energy projects on the ground.
The platform will be suited for users of various levels of expertise and experience, and will include the expert presentations and resources from the 2019 ESI workshop. It will initially focus on the state of New Mexico, with the capacity to scale nationally at a future time.
In addition to general information about ESI, the website will include content and pages specific to the NM tribal energy community’s needs; examples might include:
- Basic information and Frequently Asked Questions on tribal energy development in NM
- An ecosystem map showing the main players in NM tribal energy
- Policy and regulatory factors bearing on energy project development
- Case studies of exemplary energy projects
- Sources of funding, technical support, and other resources
- Commercial vendor and service provider directory
- Report and presentations from the 2019 workshop, and annual workshops going forward
- News from the national, regional, and local tribal energy scenes
- Links to conferences, webinars, and events
- Blog with occasional contributions from local leaders
- Mailing list sign-up for updates and alerts, and occasional newsletters
- Acknowledgement of website sponsors/funders
Key stakeholders in the NM tribal energy community will be consulted on the most important types of information, resources, and content to include to maximize usefulness and impact. ESI will organize, coordinate, and supervise the design and development of the website, to create a trusted source of impartial and expert information available to all NM tribes and tribal energy stakeholders in support of their energy goals and projects.
Energy sovereignty has been defined as “…the right of conscious individuals, communities and peoples to make their own decisions on energy generation, distribution and consumption in a way that is appropriate within their ecological, social, economic and cultural circumstances.” This concept is garnering interest from communities nation-wide, abetted by a range of new and emerging energy technologies; and it is particularly resonant for many Indian tribes as part of their sovereignty goals and values. These may include more control over their energy resources and operations under normal conditions, and also their ability to withstand power outages due to extreme weather events or attacks on the bulk grid (known as “community resiliency”).
ESI’s mission is to ensure that indigenous communities have access to the most current cultural, technological, policy and regulatory, and financing resources in support of their goals in energy generation, distribution, and consumption. By pursuing this mission in three main areas of endeavor, ESI will serve as:
- A thought leader and principal point of contact for tribal energy sovereignty matters
- A nationally recognized clearinghouse for related information, resources, and initiatives
- A respected contributor to research critical to understanding the needs, challenges, and opportunities in the field
If you’d like to be notified when the site goes live and for additional energy sovereignty news, sign up for ESI news here. If you are interested in contributing a guest blog post or technical content, contact the project director here.