devxlogo

Indigenized Energy Empowers Native Tribes with Solar Power

Indigenized Energy Empowers Native Tribes with Solar Power

Indigenized Solar

Background and inspiration

Native Americans have long relied on the US government for energy, but Cody Two Bears, a Sioux tribe member from North Dakota, is seeking to change that. Two Bears established Indigenized Energy, a native-managed energy firm that provides solar farm installations for tribal nations within the United States. His inspiration came from the 2016 Dakota Access Pipeline protests, where he actively participated in organizing efforts to stop the pipeline from being constructed on sacred tribal lands. Although the pipeline was eventually built, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe achieved a legal victory that mandated a comprehensive environmental assessment of the project. Cody Two Bears recognizes the potential of renewable energy, particularly solar power, to not only provide a cleaner and more sustainable source of energy for Native American communities but also to foster independence from reliance on the government. Indigenized Energy aims to empower tribal nations, reduce their carbon footprint, and ensure the preservation of their sacred lands for generations to come.

Indigenized Energy’s mission and impact

In 2017, Two Bears departed from politics and created Indigenized Energy, which installs solar farms for tribal nations without any charge. Many tribes face a lack of basic power access, and reservations are among the most impoverished communities nationwide. For instance, 30% of households on the Navajo Nation, the largest reservation in the US, are without electricity. Indigenized Energy aims to address this energy disparity by empowering Native American communities with clean, sustainable, and accessible power sources. The solar farms not only provide electricity but also create job opportunities in communities where unemployment rates are often significantly higher than the national average.

Challenges and opportunities in North Dakota

Introducing renewable energy to tribal land is a difficult task, especially in North Dakota, the country’s second-biggest oil-producing state. To implement solar power at the Cannon Ball reservation, it is crucial to equip indigenous tribal members with the skills needed for supervision and upkeep of the 300-kilowatt solar farm. This endeavor not only promotes the use of clean energy but also provides valuable employment opportunities for the local community. By investing in training programs and fostering partnerships with renewable energy experts, the Cannon Ball reservation can successfully transition to solar power and pave the way for a more sustainable future.

See also  Amazon poised to join $2 trillion club

Support from the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022

Valuable assistance is provided by the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, which facilitates low-interest loans for solar and wind farms, along with grant programs for electrification, climate resiliency, and energy production. These financial incentives not only boost the growth and adoption of renewable energy sources, but also create numerous job opportunities within the green energy sector. As a result, substantial strides have been made towards achieving a sustainable, low-carbon economy and reducing our reliance on fossil fuels.

Accessing funds and overcoming hurdles

In total, these subsidies and incentives are worth approximately $14 billion. Nevertheless, to access these funds, tribes must obtain an agreement to connect to the regional electrical grid, an expensive and complex process that can take years. This lengthy process often hinders the development of renewable energy projects on tribal lands, causing many tribes to miss out on valuable funding opportunities. Moreover, the bureaucratic hurdles and high costs associated with securing a grid connection can act as a deterrent, leaving many tribes to rely on traditional, non-renewable energy sources.

Benefits of renewable energy adoption

By adopting renewable energy technologies, tribes can diversify, achieve energy self-sufficiency, and create new sources of revenue. Additionally, the transition towards renewable energy can lead to the creation of green jobs within the tribes, promoting community growth and sustainable development. This shift will not only provide economic benefits, but it will also contribute to preserving the environment and respecting the cultural values that indigenous communities hold dear.

Future prospects for tribal energy independence

“Now there’s no less expensive way of generating energy anywhere in the country than on native land,” states Two Bears. The development of renewable energy systems on native lands not only has the potential to significantly reduce costs but also creates new opportunities for tribal communities to become energy independent. In addition, these projects can lead to sustainable economic growth and job creation, promoting overall well-being for residents in these areas.

See also  Demand for AI-led security surges in 2024

Indigenous involvement and collaboration

“That’s the vital opportunity now for tribes to truly become involved and create a difference.” By actively participating in decision-making processes and advocating for their rights, indigenous communities can have a significant impact on policies affecting their lands, resources, and cultural heritage. Collaboration between tribal organizations and governments can lead to equitable economic development, preserve cultural traditions, and foster a sustainable future for generations to come.

First Reported on: bbc.com

Frequently Asked Questions

What inspired Cody Two Bears to establish Indigenized Energy?

Cody Two Bears was inspired by his participation in the 2016 Dakota Access Pipeline protests. Through this experience, he recognized the potential of renewable energy, particularly solar power, to provide a cleaner and more sustainable source of energy for Native American communities, fostering independence from government reliance and preserving sacred lands.

What is the mission of Indigenized Energy?

Indigenized Energy’s mission is to empower Native American tribal nations by providing clean, sustainable, and accessible power sources, such as solar farms. The organization aims to address energy disparities in tribal communities, reduce their carbon footprint, and ensure the preservation of their sacred lands for generations to come.

What challenges does Indigenized Energy face in North Dakota?

Introducing renewable energy in North Dakota, the country’s second-biggest oil-producing state, is a difficult task. Challenges include training indigenous tribal members with the necessary skills to manage and maintain solar farms as well as overcoming legal and bureaucratic hurdles associated with connecting to the regional electrical grid.

How does the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 support renewable energy projects?

The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 provides low-interest loans for solar and wind farms, grant programs for electrification, climate resiliency, and energy production. These financial incentives boost the growth and adoption of renewable energy sources, create jobs within the green energy sector, and contribute to a sustainable, low-carbon economy.

See also  Walmart's fintech startup to disrupt BNPL market

What are the benefits of renewable energy adoption for tribal communities?

Adopting renewable energy technologies helps tribes diversify, achieve energy self-sufficiency, and create new sources of revenue. Additionally, the transition towards renewable energy leads to the creation of green jobs, promoting community growth and sustainable development while preserving the environment and respecting cultural values.

What are the future prospects for tribal energy independence?

Developing renewable energy systems on native lands can not only significantly reduce energy costs, but also create new opportunities for tribal communities to become energy independent. This can lead to sustainable economic growth, job creation, and overall well-being for residents in these areas.

Why is indigenous involvement and collaboration important?

By actively participating in decision-making processes and advocating for their rights, indigenous communities can have a significant impact on policies affecting their lands, resources, and cultural heritage. Collaboration between tribal organizations and governments can lead to equitable economic development, preserve cultural traditions, and foster a sustainable future for generations to come.

devxblackblue

About Our Editorial Process

At DevX, we’re dedicated to tech entrepreneurship. Our team closely follows industry shifts, new products, AI breakthroughs, technology trends, and funding announcements. Articles undergo thorough editing to ensure accuracy and clarity, reflecting DevX’s style and supporting entrepreneurs in the tech sphere.

See our full editorial policy.

About Our Journalist