San Carlos Apache Tribe - 2011 Project

Project Overview
Tribe/Awardee: San Carlos Apache Tribe
Location: San Carlos, AZ
Project Title: Tribal Energy Organization Project
Type of Application: First Steps (Planning)
DOE Grant Number: DE-EE0005053 
Project Amounts:
DOE: $170,845
Awardee: $47,732
Total: $218,577
Project Status: See project status
Project Period
of Performance:
Start: September 2011
End: December 2012

Summary

The core purpose of this project is to provide for the analysis and implementation of a Tribal Energy Organization that can effectively provide for coordination, leadership, and energy expertise to the rest of the tribal government in understanding and pursuing energy programs and plans. A template for the integration of the Energy Organization into the existing tribal government structure will be one of the “deliverables” from the Energy Organization Options Analysis activity, in addition to the form (tribal department/office or some other entity), the scope of responsibility and authority, reporting relationships, and annual work plan goals and tasks. The establishment of an Energy Organization also integrates with the tribe’s goals for culturally appropriate physical and economic development, and for new employment skills and employment opportunities.

Project Description

Background

The tribe resides on a 1.8 million-acre reservation in south-central Arizona, approximately 90 miles east of Phoenix. The reservation covers parts of Gila, Graham, and Pinal counties. There are three main communities on the reservation—Bylas, Peridot, and San Carlos. San Carlos is just north of Highway 70 and, with a population of approximately 6,000, is the largest community and the location of tribal headquarters and most tribal offices. Only about 500 people live outside of these three communities. The tribe is currently in Phase II of developing an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy with Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) funding. Phase I consisted of research on tribal community and energy profiles, a complete first draft of an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy (including developing tribal goals and objectives and identifying potential energy resources and conservation measures), and conducting a two-day Tribal Energy Summit.

The establishment of a Tribal Energy Organization to implement the tribe's Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy (EECS) and sustain the tribe's current and future energy initiatives is consistent with the tribe's 2008 Strategic Plan, which states in part:

  • The Apache People will live a balanced life in harmony with spirituality, culture, language, and family unity in an ever changing world.
  • The Apache People shall create the infrastructure for our tribe to evolve and grow.

There are presently no developed renewable energy resources on the reservation, although private solar, wind, and biomass developers have frequently approached the tribal government with proposals. Preliminary assessments included in the tribe's EECS indicate significant solar and geothermal potential, and also hydropower possibilities centered on the Coolidge Dam. The tribe has also conducted preliminary assessments for biomass from forestry resources, and for solar energy development adjacent to the tribal airport.

Project Objectives

The establishment of a Tribal Energy Organization to implement the tribe's EECS and sustain the tribe's current and future energy initiatives is consistent with the tribe's 2008 Strategic Plan, which states in part that the Apache People will live a balanced life in harmony with spirituality, culture, language, and family unity in an ever changing world and that the Apache People shall create the infrastructure for the tribe to evolve and grow.

The establishment of a Tribal Energy Organization will also help meet the following objectives:

  • Provide for consistent support and management of the tribe's energy policies and programs (currently the program is managed by the Planning & Economic Development Department executive director in addition to many other duties).
  • Implement the tribe's Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy.
  • Meet benchmarks, including compliance with tribal, regional, and national policies.
  • Secure long-term operational funding for the tribe's energy program.
  • Provide outreach, training, and education to sustain energy program growth, and tribal government and member support and participation.
  • Develop energy sector expertise and employment, including assessment of private sector energy development proposals.

The goals of this project include the completion of a comprehensive Energy Organization Options Analysis, the integration of the Options Analysis into the tribe's EECS, the authorization by the Tribal Council of a new Tribal Energy Organization, the hiring of an Energy Organization Coordinator, and startup of the Energy Organization. The tribe will also conduct staff training and community workshops, and start an energy intern program. The tribe will also seek ongoing funding to support the Energy Organization.

Project Scope

The Options Analysis (Activity 1) will utilize the expertise of the existing tribal manager group overseeing EECS production and be facilitated by the tribe's Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy consultant. Results will be conducted and incorporated into Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy Phase II or (depending on the timing of grant award) incorporated as an amendment to the approved Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy.

The second activity (Activity 2) is to establish a Tribal Energy Organization. An underlying assumption for this project is that the establishment of a Tribal Energy Office will be the first step in developing a full tribal energy program. While more complex undertakings (such as an energy utility) will be researched as part of this project, and while the tribe does have experience in forming enterprise utilities (the San Carlos Apache Telecommunications Utility), a more modest start-up is anticipated to meet near-term tribal needs. Accordingly, Activity 2 will involve conducting an Energy Organization Coordinator recruitment and selection process, developing an annual work plan, and making the physical office operational. In Activity 3, under the leadership of the new Energy Organization Coordinator, the tribe will initiate staff energy training and community outreach programs. In addition, an energy intern program will be launched working through the tribe's Workforce Investment Act (WIA) program.

Project Location

The tribe resides on a 1.8 million-acre reservation in south-central Arizona, approximately 90 miles east of Phoenix. The reservation covers parts of Gila, Graham, and Pinal counties. There are three main communities on the reservation—Bylas, Peridot, and San Carlos. San Carlos is just north of Highway 70 and, with a population of approximately 6,000, is the largest community and the location of tribal headquarters and most tribal offices.

Project Status

This project is complete. See the final report.

The project was competitively selected under the Tribal Energy Program's Fiscal Year 2011 funding opportunity announcement “First Steps Toward Developing Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency on Tribal Lands” (DE-FOA-0000422) and started in September 2011.

The November 2011 and November 2012 project status reports provide more information.

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

Project Contact

Gail Haozous
Executive Director- Planning and Economic Development
P.O. Box 0, San Carlos, AZ 85550
928-475-2331
gail.haozous@ped.scat-nsn.gov