The Pueblo of Zia has a long and proud history of self-sufficiency and a strong community life. Economic development efforts must be aligned not only with economic goals, but also with the Pueblo’s traditional culture and values. Within these parameters, renewable energy provides a unique opportunity to promote sustainable energy independence and respect for Pueblo land and natural resources.
To prepare a proposal for “Renewable Energy Development and Deployment in Indian Country” issued by the Department of Energy, Tribal Administrator Peter Pino and Project Manager Jai Lakshman led an expert team comprised of NMSBA, New Mexico Community Capital, NM Renewable Energy Transmission Authority, and Witcher & Associates. NMSBA provided assistance through Los Alamos National Laboratory’s (LANL) Loren Toole, an expert in renewable energy. Toole provided a broad range of information on site assessments, energy transmission and distribution system access, and economic analysis of energy alternatives.
As a result of the team’s efforts, the Pueblo of Zia was awarded a grant to conduct a feasibility study for integrated solar, geothermal, and wind energy. The study will analyze the potential to develop and export renewable energy from Zia Pueblo, including how to distribute to the grid, secure continuous energy production, and be cost-competitive in the energy market. “The expertise and assistance provided to the Pueblo of Zia by NMSBA is a key component of our success thus far,” says Pino. “We look forward to our continued partnership with LANL as the study evaluates our integrated approach to producing cost-effective renewable energy.”