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Wind Power for Native Americans

Wind Power for Native Americans poster with five happy Native American children and a wind turbine. Click on the image to view a larger version.

Wind Power for Native Americans poster

There are more than 700 American Indian tribes and Native Alaskan villages and corporations located on 96 million acres in the United States. Many of these tribes and villages have excellent wind resources that could be commercially developed to meet their electricity needs or for electricity export.

Changing national utility policy, a keen interest in economic development, environmental concerns, and availability of low-cost financing have kindled a strong interest in tribal wind development opportunities. However, several key issues need to be addressed, including lack of wind resource data, tribal utility policies, sovereignty, perceived developer risk, limited loads, investment capital, technical expertise, and especially transmission to markets.

DOE's Wind Energy Program helps tribes by providing anemometers to measure wind resources, conducting workshops, and providing technical assistance to tribes on the wind development process and options, supporting pilot projects that demonstrate innovative reservation applications, and promoting the development of the green tags concept to green federal facilities.

Anemometer Loan Program

The Native American Anemometer Loan Program is part of an effort to promote the installation of wind turbines on Native American lands. By significantly reducing the cost of quantifying the wind resource in tribal lands, it is expected that more tribes will be encouraged to install wind turbines.

Native American Wind Interest Group Newsletter

The Wind Powering America initiative initiated a quarterly Native American Wind Interest Group (NAWIG) Newsletter that was published from 2003 to 2009 as part of its Native American outreach plan. It presented Native American wind information, including projects, interviews with pioneers, issues, Wind Powering America activities, and related events. The newsletter is no longer in production. All 12 issues are archived in the NREL publications database.


Read personal interviews with Native Americans who have experience installing wind power on Native American lands and watch a video about installing wind power on Native American lands.