Yesterday the Yurok Tribe held a celebration commemorating the installation of a 28 kW photovoltaic system (solar panel system) on Tribe’s Transportation Building through a Tribal Solar Accelerator Fund Grant funded by GRID Alternatives and Wells Fargo. During the celebration the Tribe also announced plans to install a 24 kW photovoltaic system on the Tulley Creek Firehouse through the Cornerstone Grant funded by the Charitable Foundation of the Energy Bar Association.
These projects, developed in partnership with the Schatz Energy Research Center of Humboldt State University, are significant and worth celebrating as they were the first projects identified in the Tribe’s newly created Strategic Energy Action Plan, and is also a first step in fulfilling the Tribe’s Energy Vision; which reads:
“To make sure all Tribal members living within the Yurok Ancestral Territory have access to reliable, affordable, modern, cost-effective energy services. In addition, the Tribe seeks an energy program that promotes energy self-sufficiency, environmental sustainability, use of local renewable resources, job creation, and economic opportunity for Tribal members.”
To date, roughly forty percent of the families living within the Weitchpec and Pecwan districts do not have access to grid electricity. Most of these residents get their electricity from gas or diesel-powered generators, which pose health risks for residents, pollute the environment, and cost up to four times more than conventional grid electricity. Long-term, the Yurok Strategic Energy Action Plan outlines a strategy for the creation of a tribal energy program to provide residents with clean, affordable energy.
The success of the Strategic Energy Action Plan has relied heavily on grant funding for initial project start-up costs. We would like to thank our funders and our partners for their help in implementing the first steps in the Tribe’s Energy Vision.