Siting Considerations and Partnerships on Tribal Lands
Presentation Description: Despite existing and perceived economic and regulatory barriers, there are more benefits than drawbacks to producing wind energy on tribal land, or public land with tribal trust obligations. Tribes, as well as companies in partnership with Tribes, can use market mechanisms to incentivize development. Investment on tribal and public land can help meet state and federal-level renewable energy targets and wind energy projects can increase tribal revenues.
Yet, just as any two projects are not the same, any two tribes and the potential benefits and drawbacks relevant to them are not the same. Because identifying which communities to talk to and addressing potential issues within those communities takes time, having preexisting relationships in place is imperative for the success of any project in today’s social and political climate. But building relationships in the right place and in the right way is extremely difficult given the number of tribes in the US and the breadth of factors important to each. It takes time to build meaningful relationships, often, too much time once siting and permitting is underway.
Referred to as Suitability for Action Viable Engagement (SAVE), the model presented here includes energy development potential indices; jurisdictions of regulating bodies; historic land cession data from Royce Maps; current boundaries of reservation and trust land; and, predicted probability vectors for cultural concerns, among other proprietary data. The model saves time and money by forecasting the geography of siting potential, identifying tribal stakeholders and predicting issues in advance; but most importantly, the model helps us build relationships with tribes that want to partner with wind energy developers.