Rural Utility Business Advisor (RUBA) Program

Could your community benefit from technical, managerial, or financial training to improve utility operations? Consider the State of Alaska’s Rural Utility Business Advisor (RUBA) program. The goal of the RUBA program is to increase the managerial and financial capacity of rural utility and water/sewer providers. The program offers capacity building assistance to rural utilities throughout the state.

RUBA staff work alongside a community to identify strengths and weaknesses in their utility management, develop a plan to improve operations, and provide on-site technical assistance if needed. Staff serves to help communities improve, not penalize for any weak points. RUBA staff can provide one-on-one or small group training for the local utility staff in the community. RUBA also offers 32-hour utility management classes in Anchorage. Check out the upcoming training dates.

Training with the RUBA program can earn your utility extra points toward state and federal grants. Participants who successfully complete the full course in Anchorage are eligible for up to $1,000 reimbursement for lodging and travel expenses. Learn more about the RUBA program at their webpage, and check out this map to see which Local Government Assistance/RUBA staff is assigned to your community.

Feasibility Grant Opportunities – Deadlines in August & September

Deadlines for two funding opportunities from the Bureau of Indian Affairs are approaching. Please use the Southwest Alaska Energy Network’s Resource Page to find funding opportunities for your community’s energy projects:

Due September 25: Grant Program to Assess, Evaluate and Promote Development of Tribal Energy and Mineral Resources Continue reading

Energy Project Development Webinars

Take a look at the 2017 DOE Office of Indian Energy webinar series Expanding Tribal Energy Development Through Partnerships. Here are upcoming webinar topics:

September 27, 2017 Fundamentals of Organized Energy Markets for Tribes

Tribes interested in selling energy into the wholesale electricity market will see major changes with the advent of independent system operators, regional transmission organizations, and energy imbalance markets. Attendees will learn about power marketing administrations and organized energy markets.

Here’s the full list of webinars.

Results – June Energy Survey

Thanks to everyone who responded to the June Energy Network Survey. We heard from a mixed group of network members – all were interested in doing energy efficiency upgrades to their home or business, and most had first-hand knowledge of other energy efficiency projects in their community. This information helps us as we put together plans to implement energy efficiency projects in regions and communities.

Here is what we asked and what we heard.

Please tell us why you’re interested in upgrades or not. What would make it worth your while to invest in energy efficiency?

For most, the interest in energy efficiency came from wanting to save money. To make it worthwhile, you want to see the reduction in energy use and the savings, which would cover the cost of the upgrades.

If you are interested in energy efficiency upgrades, has anything held you back from getting started? We’d like to hear about any barriers you are facing.

The most common response was the high upfront cost of making the energy efficiency upgrades, though a lack of contractors in the community able to do small projects was also mentioned.  Some respondents shared that they have made needed upgrades slowly as resources have been available.

AK Energy Webinars

The U.S. Department of Energy and Alaska Energy Authority have created a Peer Exchange Network with webinars on financing and technology for energy projects in remote Alaska communities. The information is geared toward communities participating in the RACEE program but is available to all.

The monthly technical webinars will focus on a specific topic, with a technology introduction by a subject matter expert as well as a presentation by a community representative on the respective technology.

Webinar titles in blue have already taken place and may be watched by clicking on the title. More will be added as they become available. To find dates or register for an upcoming webinar, click here.