"Tribal Power Utilities"Season 3 • Episode 5
About Robert Blake:
Robert Blake is the owner of Solar Bear, pronounced Gizis-o-makwa in Ojibwe, a solar installation company located in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Robert is also the Executive Director of Native Sun Community Power Development, a Non-Profit likewise located in Minneapolis.
Robert is a keynote speaker at The Energy Fair June 24-26, 2022.
About John Farrell
John: John Farrell is a co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and directs the Energy Democracy Initiative. Widely known as the guru of distributed energy, he has received accolades for his vivid illustrations of the economic and environmental benefits of local ownership of decentralized renewable energy.
John is a keynote speaker at The Energy Fair June 24-26, 2022.
“I just get energized by all of the work that communities do to organize around these issues; the way they identify the problems that matter most to them.”
– John Farrell
From The Episode
(2:44) – Bob Blake explains the origins of his idea for a tribal EV charging network
(7:18) – Public charging and the role of solar
(12:14) – How energy project decisions are made in tribal communities
(20:45) – The future of autonomous tribal power utilities
(31:48) – John Farrell’s ideal utility design
(39:47) – Bob Blake on overcoming the challenges of creating your own utility
(48:08) – Ellen Barlas on what jobs are needed by solar installers
(49:20) – Why solar programs are facing enrollment shortages
(54:24) – Why MREA launched solarenergy.jobs
“That is what the crazy part is in tribal country right now. I mean, six years ago when I was taking about all of this… there was no talk about it. Now, it’s on every tribal nations tongue. Like, “how do we get a solar project together? How do we put together some EV chargers?” I mean, this is so exciting guys. I just can’t believe how far this has come.”
– Robert Blake
Address: 7558 Deer Rd. Custer, WI 54423
The Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) is a nonprofit organization with the mission to promote renewable energy, energy efficiency, and sustainable living through education and demonstration.