What are the Prospects for Energy Futures on Tribal Lands?

Authors: Robert S. Cole

Disciplines: Environmental Studies

Themes: Climate Change, Economic Development, Energy

This case explores the scientific principles behind renewable energy conversion systems, including solar energy, wind energy, geothermal energy, and biofuel and biomass energies. The intent is to build a basis for understanding the current and potential future uses of renewable energies on tribal lands. The case suggests resources for students to investigate what tribes are already doing with the various types of renewable energies. The case also suggests resources for students to learn about the potential of renewable energy as a source of tribal employment, and to consider what training might be necessary for a career working with various types of renewable energy. This case is a research-based case that has the students doing work outside the classroom. The pedagogical method of this case is to break up a class of students into small groups, each of which will work on a different topic, or a different aspect of a given topic. For example, students might research and one of the following topics: solar power, wind power, biofuel and biomass production, energy conservation, or the energy management of tribal resource. The task for the students working in small groups is to research their topic, and to present their finding back to the class as a whole.