‘Solar warriors’ train for Native America energy fight

imageCommodities2 minutes ago (Oct 08, 2021 07:25AM ET)

(C) Reuters.

By Andrew Hay and Emilie Richardson

TAOS, N.M., PINE RIDGE, S.D. (Reuters) – It is a jump from doing office paperwork to building solar power systems but that is the leap Lorraine Nez is taking to bring renewable energy to her Native American reservation.

Nez was one of a dozen Native trainees who took a month-long course this summer on South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Reservation to become certified solar power installers and trainers.

The students from six tribes are among Native Americans tapping into vast renewable energy potential on tribal lands and fighting economic inequalities holding back access to clean power.

“This is still a new industry, there are not many people out here in this world with any type of knowledge,” said Nez, 44, a former nurse with a degree in business management, who is from the Rosebud Sioux reservation, South Dakota and lives in Rapid City, South Dakota where she works in medical billing.

Native Americans are ten times more likely to not have electricity than the national average and, as people of color far less likely to have solar power, after 20th century rural electrification bypassed some of their communities, studies have shown.

To help build tribal energy independence, training group Solar Energy International has partnered with non-profit Red Cloud Renewable to teach students to assemble off-grid systems for isolated homes or grid-connected arrays to cut bills.

These “solar warriors” hope to supply power to areas like the Navajo Nation, where around 25% of homes lack electricity, and cut energy bills in reservations such as Pine Ridge, which has the poorest county in the United States.

“I want to create community awareness, show by example how solar and renewable energies coincide with the Chippewa Cree (NYSE:WOLF) belief system, the overall Native American belief system,” said trainee Clyde Brown, 45, who plans to install solar power at the community college on his Rocky Boy’s reservation, Montana.

Another goal is to create a Native American solar workforce to build big arrays in places like the Navajo Nation and Pine Ridge and teach solar skills to the next generation.

“The people there have realized that energy sovereignty is more important to them and the only way they’ll achieve that is focusing on the more renewable resources,” said workshop instructor Chris Brooks, 48, from non-profit Remote Energy of moves by reservations to diversify away from oil and gas and coal-based power.

Nez hopes to start an installation business in a sector dominated by white men, driven by a way of life focused on the earth and elements.

“It’s there, why are we not using it?” she said of solar power.

‘Solar warriors’ train for Native America energy fight

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.

Subscribe

Category

Related posts

Latest posts

HSBC Q3 profit up 74%, beats estimates, announces up to $2bln buyback

Stock Markets2 minutes ago (Oct 25, 2021 12:25AM ET) (C) Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A man wearing a protective mask walks past a logo of HSBC...

Gold Up after Previous Session’s Losses, Fed Taper Imminent

Commodities17 minutes ago (Oct 25, 2021 12:10AM ET) (C) Reuters. By Gina Lee Investing.com - Gold was up on Monday morning in Asia, clawing back gains...

Alec Baldwin was aiming at camera when gun discharged – affadavit

World22 minutes ago (Oct 25, 2021 12:05AM ET) (C) Reuters. FILE PHOTO: An image of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, who died after being shot by Alec...