Investing in Energy Self-Sufficiency
The Blue Lake Rancheria Tribe is focused on developing clean energy projects to become more self-sufficient, energy independent, and to help meet or exceed California’s greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goals and renewable portfolio standards. “The Tribal Council and tribal leaders are very concerned about the increased threats—and severe health and economic costs – of flooding, wildfire, large storms, landslides, and other imminent impacts of climate change,” said Jana Ganion, Energy Director for the Tribe. “The Tribe is working to stabilize the environment, and they’re willing to invest in the work.”
With the use of its gaming revenue funds and the collaboration between local, state, and federal agencies, the Blue Lake Rancheria recently broke ground on a state-of-the-art low-carbon community-scale microgrid. “This project is an exemplary and successful collaboration between tribal, local, state, and federal entities, assertively working toward clean energy initiatives,” said Ganion. “When the Tribe started working on climate issues, it had a primary goal of powering the Rancheria with renewable resources. With this project, we are over halfway there.”
The Tribe has a clear record of building to the highest energy efficiency standards. And since 2008, the Blue Lake Rancheria has taken a strategic approach to expanding its commitment to renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. The microgrid, which will be fully operational by 2016, will combine existing and new renewable energy sources and a large battery storage system that will provide power to the tribe’s economic enterprises – the Blue Lake Casino, Blue Lake Hotel, Sapphire Palace Event Center (which also serves as an American Red Cross emergency shelter) – and the tribal government offices. For GHG reductions and community resilience efforts, the White House recently named the Blue Lake Rancheria Tribe a “Climate Action Champion,” one of 16 U.S. communities selected, alongside Seattle, Boston, and San Francisco.