Tanana Chiefs Conference
Tanana Chiefs Conference and University of Alaska Partnering for Rural Energy Solutions in Interior Alaska
Tanana Chiefs Conference, the traditional tribal consortium of the 42 villages of Interior Alaska, is based on a belief in tribal self-determination and the need for regional Native unity. Finding opportunities for smart, clean and affordable energy solutions in rural Alaska has become a priority in order to ensure the sustainability of their cultural identity and way of life.
For these villages, nestled in Interior Alaska, off the road system and far removed from the state’s electric grid, the cost of energy is typically the highest in the nation. However, this region is rich in untapped renewable resources, motivated people, and opportunities to create efficiencies in their current fossil fuel systems to decrease their dependence on expensive and unpredictably priced energy.
Tanana Chiefs Conference recognized the need for their communities to implement smart, successful and integrated projects in a brief timeframe. They enlisted the assistance of the Alaska Center for Energy and Power through the creation of a jointly managed and funded position which is held by Ross Coen. The immediate goal is to create a region-wide plan to access available funding for projects and to link the region to existing and emerging technologies with the highest impact for their current and future energy portfolio.
The diverse energy needs and available resources for each village precludes a cookie cutter approach and requires solutions that originate within each community but are integrated and shared with the entire region. This partnership matches the community and tribal connections of Tanana Chiefs Conference with the technical expertise of the Alaska Center for Energy and Power to seek practical solutions that decrease high energy prices utilizing the same commitment to sustainable living that has served them well for centuries in this beautiful and often extreme climate.