Manatt Associate Speaks to PV Insider About Renewable Energy Projects on Tribal Lands
"Native Americans Betting on Renewables for Future Revenues"PV Insider
July 31, 2012 - PV Insider interviewed Manatt's Tara Kaushik, an associate in the firm's Energy, Environment & Natural Resources Division, for insight into why a growing number of Native American tribes are undertaking renewable energy projects.
PV Insider, a publication focused on solar photovoltaic business intelligence, reports that Native American tribes are increasingly turning to the renewable energy industry as a replacement for potential lost revenue from coal production, since coal plants operated on some tribal lands face costly new regulations.
"Native tribes are looking at other ways to use tribal lands to produce wind, solar and geothermal energy, and some of these plans are quite creative," said Kaushik, who has represented tribal nations. "The Navajo Nation has been quite active with that." The Navajo Tribal Utility Authority has a deal with the Salt River Project - one of Arizona's largest utilities - to buy energy from the 85-megawatt wind project that the tribe is constructing at the Big Boquillas Ranch.
Tribes are considering all forms of renewable energy as they look to protect themselves from an unpredictable future when it comes to coal plant production.
"Coal plants have been a primary source of revenue for a number of tribes in the Southwest, but that is changing," she said. "It's a big deal for the tribes right now, because once the coal plants are significantly downsized, or the owners decide it's too expensive to implement EPA regulations, that will leave them in a significant and severely impacted financial predicament. It's going to be interesting to see how their energy resources are diversified."
Read the article here.
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