U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Tribal Energy Program

Options Integration

At this point in the process, tribal loads have been assessed, efficiency improvements articulated, renewable resource and technology options evaluated, organizational and environmental challenges addressed, conventional energy supplies identified, the power market quantified, and the economics and risks brought into focus. What combination of solutions makes the most technical, institutional, financial, and environmental sense?

There is often not a single answer, hence the phrase "combination of solutions." The figure below illustrates the elements that need to be integrated.

Graphic demonstrating Options Integration: Technical, Financial, Environmental and Institutional

Tribal institutional issues are at the center of this diagram. While there are interrelationships between all four of these elements, the institutional decisions will be the glue that ties the project together and moves the project forward. While the institutional arrangement will certainly be influenced by the technical, financial, and environmental aspects of the project, these other elements must support the tribal institutional decision, and that resulting tribal entity must balance the competing interests of the technical, environmental, and financial realities. Various institutional options are explored in more depth under Organizational Development. But at this early stage in strategic planning, the key institution is likely to be the tribal council, or the energy champion who is charged by the council to review the options and to bring forth recommendations.

There is no magic formula for collapsing the universe of energy options into a coherent combination of solutions. There are usually tradeoffs between technical, financial, and environmental objectives. It is the challenge and responsibility of the energy champion, backed by the tribal council, to make wise decisions that meet the needs and desires of the tribe.