August 31, 2020

State energy policy implications for tribal energy development

by Pilar Thomas

The tide is turning toward more aggressive clean energy, climate change, and sustainable energy goals for states and energy utilities. Starting in the last decade—with the more widespread acceptance of impacts of climate change and bolstered by federal investment in renewable energy, energy efficiency and climate change mitigation, adaptation, and resiliency planning—states, cities, counties, and others have rolled out higher renewable energy standards and requirements. Unfortunately, this state governmental response has generally left out Indian tribes located within those same states, and tribes neighboring those counties and cities. This neglect can—and in many cases does—result in tribes being left behind in the deployment of renewable energy projects. States and state public utility commissions can reverse this trend and start to bring tribes along in the same direction as the tide.

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