Students From Inter-Tribal Energy & Tech Tour To Visit SCE Tesla Storage Project

August 09, 2017 (PRLEAP.COM) Technology News
August 9, 2017 - Students representing Native American tribes in the Pacific Northwest are participating in a road trip across Oregon and California for the annual Inter-Tribal Energy & Tech Tour. On August 10th, students who've traveled since Monday morning are scheduled to arrive for a visit at Southern California Edison to learn about energy solutions and the utility's work with Native American tribes within the SCE service territory. They will also tour the largest lithium ion energy storage facility in operation, a contract won by Tesla to supply 20 MW (80MWh) of lithium ion battery storage capacity comprised of 396 Powerpack battery systems and 24 inverters. In operation, the batteries charge during off-peak hours and deliver back up power to the grid during peak demand.

The Inter-Tribal Energy & Tech Tour is produced each year by Redbridge Foundation, a non-profit 501c3 company based in Portland Oregon. Participating students are selected by application process. The Tour's mission is to raise awareness among Native American youth for opportunities in STEM-related careers and utilizes social media marketing posts to share student experiences with their communities via Twitter and Facebook. The National Science Foundation Science & Engineering Indicators 2016 Report states that "The proportion of U.S. S&E master's degrees earned by underrepresented racial and ethnic minorities increased from 14% to 19% between 2000 and 2013. American Indians and Alaska Natives accounted for 0.5%."

For generations, tribes have practiced sustainability and environmental preservation. The U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Indian Energy Overview estimates that 14 billion MWh of utility-scale solar, 1.1 billion MWh of wind potential, and 7 million MWh of hydropower resources exist on tribal land. "With over 500 tribes across the US and 5% of the nation's natural resources on tribal reservations, energy and technology savvy tribal communities are in a position to generate power and jobs for their communities and lead market transformation. And it starts with educating tribal youth about the potential. Get them inspired and asking questions and there's no limit to what they'll achieve," said Shannon Hulbert, Yurok Tribal Member and President of Redbridge Foundation.

According to the U.S. Census, 39% of the total American Indian population living on reservations are at or below the national poverty line. Seven of the 10 poorest counties in the US are located in tribal communities, where unemployment rates can reach as high as 35% and broadband penetration can be as low as 10%. A 15-year old student on the 2017 Tour says, "It is important for our youth to learn about energy and technology in Indian Country as our future depends on the knowledge and power of education in these areas. We need to take care generations to come."

The 2017 Tour is covering a range of topics including; renewable energy, tribal energy, smart grid, microgrid, AR, AI, VR, IoT, datacenters and careers. In addition to SCE, students will also visit:
  • Warm Springs Indian Reservation & Portland General Electric (PGE) Pelton Round Hydroelectric Project
  • Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory National Atmospheric Release Advisory Center (NARAC) and the National Ignition Facility (NIF), the world's largest energetic laser facility
  • Opus Interactive Sustainable Datacenters, Edge Computing, and Software Defined Networking using cloud computing technologies

  • The 2017 tour is funded with support from Portland General Electric (PGE), Redbridge, Inc., and Portland-based cloud and colocation company, Opus Interactive.

    About Redbridge Foundation
    Redbridge Foundation, a 501c3 in Oregon, is a non-profit organization that annually hosts the Inter-Tribal Energy & Tech Tour. Founded by a member of the Yurok Tribe of California, the Inter-Tribal Energy & Tech Tour is the nation's first summer camp dedicated to raising STEM awareness among Native American youth. Since its launch in 2013, the Tour has been received participation from over 30 tribes, and introduced students to over 20 native-owned projects throughout the country, including solar and wind energy, and data centers.

    For more information contact Shannon Hulbert, Redbridge Foundation, 503-381-4977

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