A Sunny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum… the Tribal Lands Environmental Forum (TLEF).
The Center for Creative Land Recycling (CCLR) organized a Brightfields session at TLEF. The Rosette Law Firm’s Douglas MacCourt, who was formerly with the DoE Indian Energy Office, and Ignacio Dayrit gave an intensive introduction on solar energy on tribal brownfields. The topics included the potential for solar energy on tribal lands, legal and financial considerations, project development, brownfields considerations for brightfields and case studies.
During this information-filled session, the attendees from tribes from around the US identified the findings and considerations for success below:
1. There is a great potential for solar energy generation on tribal lands, whether these be on a facility, community or utility scale.
2. There are several Federal agencies and many states that provide assistance to tribes in studying and developing renewable energy resources. Debt and equity instruments are being developed and provide additional promise for funding. To name a few:
– Department of Energy – Office Indian Energy
– National Renewable Energy Laboratory
– Bureau of Indian Affairs
– US Department of Agriculture
– New Markets Tax Credits
– Opportunity Zones
– BUILD Act provisions favorable to renewable energy projects
3. The solar energy market is very complicated, with layers of regulation and requirements for legal, financing and organization.
4. Tribal participation adds even more layers of complexity.
5. Communications, transparency and certainty within the tribal leadership and staff, and with non-tribal partners are key to the success of any project.
6. Tribes that are interested in exploring solar technology may start small and scale up as they familiarize themselves with the technology and energy markets.
Expect more renewable energy discussions at next years’ TLEF. The future is bright if they can see the light – with the right efforts and partnerships.
The slides for the session will be available at the conferene website at https://www7.nau.edu/itep/main/Conferences/confr_tlef