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Webinar series focuses on renewable development opportunities for tribes

Now in its third year, the popular Tribal Renewable Energy Webinar Series is returning to keep tribes and tribal energy organizations abreast of the latest opportunities, resources and best practices related to building clean energy projects.

The free webinars take place on the last Wednesday of the month, starting at 11 a.m. MST and lasting about 90 minutes. Western is once again teaming up with the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs and the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Tribal Energy Program to sponsor the series.

Building on past

Tribal leaders, executives and staff interested in building projects that foster energy sufficiency and strengthen tribal energy infrastructure should attend. Presentations will also cover topics applying to utility-scale projects, so utility and industry staff and other stakeholders will gain perspective from the series.

The 2014 webinar series focuses on the issues and challenges facing the development of renewable energy projects in tribal facilities and communities. The schedule represents the sponsors’ coordinated efforts to expand on the 2012 and 2013 webinar series. “In past years, we laid a foundation of knowledge about how the industry works and received feedback from the tribes about their experiences with development,” said Randy Manion, Western Renewable Energy Program manager. “This series focuses on implementation—on what it takes to get projects into the ground and operate them.”

The topics also draw on online training materials from the National Training and Education Resource Center (NTER). DOE’s Office of Economic Impact and Diversity funded a collaboration of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium, the American Indian Science and Engineering Society and the national labs to develop these online courses. “This project provides a tremendous resource for tribes who want to learn more about technology, policy and finance related to developing renewables in Indian Country,” Manion said.

A lot to learn

Those who missed Information Available for Tribal Energy Project Development, the series premiere on Nov. 27, can find the presentations and audio recording on Western’s Renewable Energy Program website. Recordings of each webinar will be available on the site after the event.

Upcoming webinars in 2014 include:

  • Jan. 29 – Renewable Energy Market Update
    Catch up on the latest developments in biomass, geothermal, low-head hydro, solar and wind; explore each technology’s unique characteristics and find out how they are competing in the marketplace.

  • Feb. 26 – Strategic Energy Planning
    Learn how to develop a strategic energy plan, identify key aspects of successful energy planning and use information resources, including archived webinars from DOE’s Office of Indian Energy Education Initiative

  • March 26 – Renewable Energy Project Development and Finance Framework: The Five Step Process
    Learn the five key steps of the Energy Project Framework that lead to success:
    • Understanding project savings and production potential
    • Project options
    • Project refinement
    • Project implementation
    • Project operations and maintenance 

  • April 30 – Identifying Project Potential and Options
    An in-depth look at the first two steps of the Energy Project Framework explores market considerations, siting, rate of return estimates, production potential, tribal options, financing, partnerships and participation. 

  • May 28 – Renewable Energy Project Refinement
    Explore the third step of the Energy Project Framework with experts on project financing strategies, off-taker agreements, vendor selection and obstacles to renewable project deployment on tribal lands. 

  • June 25 – Net Metering
    Speakers will present case histories on how facilities with their own renewable electricity systems can feed excess generation back into the grid, and look at differences in state net metering laws and utility net metering programs.

  • July 30 – Project Implementation and O&M
    Discussions will cover project management, reporting, monitoring and commissioning, developing a long-term Operations and Maintenance plan, evaluating warranty agreements and extensions, and more.

  • Aug. 27 – Introduction to Facility and Community Scale Project Financing
    Get to know the forms of financing for small community-scale projects that serve an individual facility or community, and their advantages and disadvantages to tribal communities.

  • Sept. 24 – Successful Project Financing Mechanisms - ESPCs and UESCs
    Learn about energy savings performance contracts (ESPCs) and utility energy service contracts (UESCs), mechanisms developed for federal agencies to finance renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.

  • Oct. 29 – Putting it All Together
    Review the previous webinars and learn about the tremendous development opportunities awaiting tribes. Stakeholders will weigh in on topics for the 2015 Tribal Webinar Series during the final Q-and-A session.

Register today

There is no charge to participate in the webinars, but registration is required. Visit the Tribal Energy Program webinar Web page, and select the workshops you want to attend. After registering, you will receive a dedicated email that includes the internet address, phone number and passcodes to participate.

Participants will need internet access and an open phone line. The NTER website will host the presentations. The audio portion of the webinar will be available through a toll-free line. Attendees will be able to ask questions of the speakers in real time.

Sponsors strongly encourage attendees to review past webinars and the NTER training materials before participating in this year’s series.