Association Webinars: Decarbonization in the United States: Implications for Indian Country



The aim of this webinar is to discuss how renewable energy and energy efficiency can be made more affordable and accessible for the residents of Indian Country. High energy burdens are prevalent among low-income households in the Native American reservations, where the infamous dilemma to 'heat' or 'eat' has been exacerbated by the current pandemic. While low and moderate income (LMI) households with annual incomes below $40,000 account for nearly 40% of America's population, their access to solar electricity is in low single digits. The situation is even more dire in Indian Country due to a lack of modernized energy infrastructure and diversified energy sources. With the renewed pledge for decarbonization, how can the Native American Tribes secure a sustainable energy future?


Anna (Ebers) Broughel is an energy economist at the engineering firm Tetra Tech, which has served as a long-term consultant to the Diné (Navajo) Nation on energy questions, and among other things conducted a feasibility study for Paragon-Bisti Solar Ranch in 2015. Anna is involved in supporting and developing this long-standing relationship between the two parties. Prior to joining Tetra Tech, she worked at the U.S. Department of Energy as a Science and Technology Fellow, focusing on issues of energy poverty among low-income communities in the U.S. She completed her post-doctoral training at the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland and at the University of Maryland, College Park, where she researched the procedural and distributional justice of siting new energy projects. She holds a PhD in economics and policy from the State University of New York in association with Syracuse University, where she was a Fulbright scholar. For her doctoral dissertation, she conducted field work in remote locations in Mexico. Currently, she serves as a council member for the U.S. Association for Energy Economics and is a non-resident fellow at the University of Texas at Austin.


Clark A. Miller is the Director of the Center for Energy & Society and a Professor in the School for the Future of Innovation in Society at Arizona State University. He is also a member of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Committee on Accelerating Decarbonization in the United States. He is one of the co-authors of the new report by the National Academies Committee on Accelerating Decarbonization in the United States. The report maps strategies for the United States to decarbonize the economy by 2050, including technological pathways, social and economic opportunities and challenges, and policy recommendations. During the webinar, he will discuss some of the most significant findings and their potential implications for Indian Country. The full report is available at:

Chéri Smith is a descendant of the Mi'Kmaq Tribe of Northern Maine and the Canadian Maritimes. Her experience in the fields of renewable energy and environmental sustainability spans two decades and multiple sectors, including private, public, higher education, NGO, and within tribal communities. She founded Covenant Solar Initiative in 2017, driven by the desire to honor her own Native American heritage by leveraging her knowledge to bring the life-changing economic and environmental benefits of solar to struggling indigenous communities within the United States. Prior to founding Covenant Solar Initiative, Chéri was leading Workforce Strategy for Tesla, Inc., following her tenure as Head of Workforce and Training Development for SolarCity. Since 2015, Chéri has managed or advised in the development, funding and project management of over 3MW of solar on Native American reservations, Including projects on the Standing Rock Sioux, Northern Cheyenne, and Navajo Reservations. Prior to joining SolarCity, she worked in private consulting and served as Director of Education & International Workforce Development for the American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE).

Maggie Tallmadge manages Ranger Power's energy marketing efforts and development of solar power projects. Prior to joining Ranger, Maggie worked at the Coalition of Communities of Color, an Oregon alliance of culturally specific community-based organizations. Maggie developed its Community and Economic Development program while designing and leading legislative, electoral, and Public Utility Commission policies and campaigns, including carbon pricing, utility grid modernization, housing, and tax policy. Outside of work, Maggie has served on the Board of Governors for the Oregon Citizens Utility Board and as a Commissioner on the City of Portland Planning and Sustainability Commission. Maggie is a Citizen of the Cherokee Nation, which drives her passion and research in renewable energy and economic development in Indian Country. Maggie holds a Masters of Environmental Management from Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and a Bachelor of Arts from Wellesley College. Her long-term goal is to address the dearth of capital available to tribes for clean energy infrastructure.


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