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Welcome to the South Carolina Institute for Energy Studies The South Carolina Institute for Energy Studies at Clemson University was founded by the State Legislature in 1982 to help South Carolina and the nation address energy related issues.

Strategic Energy Plan for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians

Project Overview

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians was awarded a grant under the U.S. Department of Energy Tribal Energy Program (TEP) to develop a Tribal Strategic Energy Plan (SEP). The grant, awarded under the “First Steps” phase of the TEP, supported the development of a SEP that integrates with the Tribe's plans for economic development, preservation of natural resources and the environment, and perpetuation of Tribal heritage and culture. Development of the SEP was performed by SCIES.

Project Goals

Resolution 636 (2007) passed by the Tribal Council, established the following energy goals for the Tribe:

  • To protect, preserve and ensure the wise utilization of the limited natural resources located on Tribal Lands for the Cherokee people in the most efficient manner and in an effective way that the natural beauty of Tribal lands and natural resources, which are the basis of its cultural and economic well-being, are preserved and protected;
  • To identify opportunities for economic and community development for the Tribe that promote sustainable development; and
  • To identify energy cost savings opportunities for the Tribe.

Activities Performed

The Tribe formed an Energy Committee consisting of members from various departments within the Tribal government. This committee, together with the South Carolina Institute for Energy Studies, performed the following activities:

  • Develop the Tribe's energy goals and objectives
  • Establish the Tribe's current energy usage
  • Identify available renewable energy and energy efficiency options
  • Assess the available options versus the goals and objectives
  • Create an action plan for the selected options

Conclusions and Recommendations

Tribal energy projects can play a significant role in helping the EBCI meet its objectives to create new job opportunities for its members; attract new, high-tech businesses; preserve and enhance the natural environment; support the existing tourist and gaming industries; and protect the Tribe from the threat of energy price increases and supply shortages.

Eleven renewable energy opportunities, as well as numerous energy efficiency alternatives, were developed and assessed. From those candidates, the following renewable energy and energy efficiency options were recommended for action by the Tribe:

Renewable Energy Recommendations

•  Wind Power
•  Municipal Wastewater-to-Electricity
•  Biodiesel Production from Waste Oil and Grease

Energy Efficiency Recommendations

•  Increase use of energy efficient lighting for buildings and street lights
•  Implement a weatherization program for low income tribal members
•  Perform energy audits of EBCI government buildings
•  Implement an energy efficiency building code for residential, commercial, and government buildings
•  Implement a fuel efficiency requirement for all future government vehicle purchases
•  Provide “green driver education” to all EBCI staff that use government vehicles

Specific action plans for each recommendation were developed.

Project Participants

South Carolina Institute for Energy Studies
Department of Energy - Tribal Energy Program
Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians

For more information contact:

Robert Leitner, SCIES Director

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