The Tribal Energy Program website is moving!

Content is not being updated during this brief transition.

For the latest information about funding opportunities, technical assistance, and training for tribes, please visit the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Indian Energy website.

Northwest Alaska Native Association (NANA) Regional Corporation - 2007 Project

Project Overview
Tribe/Awardee: Northwest Alaska Native Association (NANA) Regional Corporation
Location: Kotzebue, AK
Project Title: Strategic Energy Plan and Energy Options Analysis
Type of Application: First Steps (Planning)
DOE Grant Number: DE-FG36-07GO17091
Project Amounts:
DOE: $100,000
Awardee: $95,922
Total: $195,922
Project Status: Complete  More
Project Period
of Performance:
Start: September 2007
End: December 2008


The Northwest Alaska Native Association (NANA) Regional Corporation (NRC) is an Alaskan Native regional corporation serving over 11,400 shareholders of the NANA region and its traditional communities. NRC, a diversified holding company with subsidiaries, follows a traditional corporate structure. Its governing board has 22 directors representing all 11 member communities.

The NANA goal is to improve energy security through strategic energy planning and improved understanding of available energy options. The strategic energy plan (SEP) will promote the Inupiat values system in its development, including a "knowledge sharing" methodology, participatory planning and responsibility to the tribe. The high cost of energy in the NANA region is one of the leading threats to the long term sustainability and well-being of the region. The goals and desired outcomes of the NANA SEP — such as energy efficiency, promotion of renewable energy and self-determination through participatory planning — are closely linked to traditional Inupiat values.

Project Description

Arguably one of the most remote regions in the United States, NANA villages have no access to roads or to the electricity grid. Diesel fuel is the primary source of energy for heat and power generation in the NANA region. As a result of complex and lengthy logistics and the need for on-site fuel storage, retail fuel costs are exceedingly high, resulting in the highest prices in the nation for electricity. Residential electricity rates ranged from $0.29/kWh in Kotzebue to $0.53/kWh in Kobuk in 2005. It is assumed that 2006 prices will be significantly higher.

Addressing strategic energy planning and energy options analysis, the intent of the project is to develop a comprehensive SEP and perform an energy options analysis to enhance energy security in the NANA region.

The objective of the energy options analysis is to undertake a prefeasibility analysis of identified renewable resources, nonrenewable resources and energy efficiency measures, and to analyze energy consumption needs and patterns. The purpose of the NANA SEP is to provide stakeholders with a conceptual framework and vision for the enhancement of their energy security.

Potential benefits include a strategic road map to promoting energy security and an improved understanding of the technical and economic feasibility of the various energy options available to NANA region stakeholders. The project will also clarify the roles and responsibilities of energy stakeholders/participants in the region. Other benefits include increased understanding of NANA region energy needs on the part of government agencies and private entities.

The goal of the NANA SEP is improved NANA region energy security through strategic energy planning and an improved understanding of available energy options. The NANA SEP's objectives are:

  1. Increased collaboration between NANA region stakeholders on energy policy, programs, infrastructure, and capacity
  2. Increased understanding of energy options available to NANA region energy stakeholders for improved energy decision making
  3. Increased awareness and understanding of NANA region energy needs by external stakeholders.


NRC, as an Alaskan Native corporation, has committed to addressing the energy needs of its shareholders. The project framework calls for the involvement of the Indian Reorganization Act (IRA) councils in the steering committee. Tribal members, from the NRC to individual communities, will be involved in development of the NANA SEP. NRC, as the lead tribal entity, will serve as the project director of the proposed effort. NANA Pacific LLC (NP), a 100% NANA-owned engineering, construction and consulting company, will provide technical assistance and project management services. NRC works collaboratively with regional agencies. The Manilaaq Association, which represents 12 federally recognized tribes located in the region, will provide additional tribal involvement and support.

The tasks to be performed, and the organization responsible for each task (where already identified), are as follows:

  1. Project start-up — Project kick-off meetings, development of program contracts, identification of steering committee members and clarification of roles and responsibilities. (NRC responsible)

  2. Organization of steering committee — Development of roles and responsibilities, meeting schedules, objectives and other organizational issues, and validation of project framework. The outcome of this step will be a functional steering committee with a clear understanding of roles and responsibilities. (NRC responsible)

  3. Literature/professional knowledge review (specific to NANA region) — Consolidate existing literature, professional knowledge and data into a summary document and platform utilizing a geographic information system (GIS) methodology; included is the review of data, reports and other information as it relates to energy. (NP responsible)

  4. NANA region energy summit — Steering committee members, community members and other concerned parties will convene for discussion and development of the energy summit. This will be a facilitated effort, whereby short-, medium- and long-term strategic objectives will be developed. (NRC responsible)

  5. Energy options analysis — Renewable and nonrenewable energy options analysis for the region, including financial cost-benefit analysis, technical review of options and development of a decision matrix. (NP responsible)

  6. Drafting of SEP — Drafting of an energy plan for review. Steps 3, 4 and 5 will be incorporated into this plan. (NP responsible)

  7. Comment period — The draft SEP will be submitted to the steering committee for comment and review.

  8. Dissemination of findings — Communication of findings to NREL, the Alaska Rural Energy Conference, Alaskan donors and other appropriate parties. (NRC leadership responsible)

  9. Final SEP and closeout — The last step will be the finalization of the SEP and closeout activities.

Project Location

NRC is an Alaskan Native regional corporation, serving over 11,400 shareholders of the NANA region and its traditional communities. Located 33 miles north of the Arctic Circle on the Chukchi Sea, the NANA region also constitutes the boundaries of the Northwest Arctic Borough (NWAB). The NANA region population is estimated to be roughly 7600 people, of which 75% are of Inupiat Eskimo descent. Eleven individual communities are located within the NANA region and each is represented by an IRA federally recognized tribal council. Subsistence activities such as fishing and hunting of caribou, moose and seals remains an integral part of the regional lifestyle.

Project Status

This project is complete. For details, see the final report.

The project was competitively selected under the Tribal Energy Program's fiscal year 2007 solicitation, "First Steps Toward Developing Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency on Tribal Lands," and started September 2007. The November 2007, November 2008, and November 2009 project status reports provide more information.

For current project status or additional information, please contact the project contact.

Project Contact

Walter Sampson, Vice President
NANA Regional Corporation
100 Shore Avenue
Kotzebue, AK 99752
Telephone: (907) 442-3301

Jay Hermanson
NANA Pacific (Contractor/Consultant)
3150 C Street, Suite 250
Anchorage, AK 99503
Telephone: (907) 257-1742