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Spark Northwest provides educational events to community members to support renewable energy project development.
Spark Northwest accelerates the shift to clean energy one community at a time. Our programs make affordable, locally-controlled clean energy more accessible for all.
Since spring of 2019, Spark Northwest has supported community energy planning at Lummi Nation, helping to turn ideas about energy sovereignty and education into fundable project proposals. These clean energy proposals have resulted in grant applications totaling $2.2 million. One such proposal was for the Lummi Nation School, a K-12 school featuring a Science Technology Engineering Arts Mathematics (STEAM) program that is culturally responsive and validates tribal ways of knowing.
Lummi Nation School has installed a 50kW solar project fiscally sponsored by the Lhaq’temish Foundation, a tribally chartered nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, and funded by Puget Sound Energy’s Green Power Program customers. The system is an important resource for integrating curriculum with real-world applications, and in time, these technical skills will translate to jobs in clean energy, one of the fastest growing industries in the country.
Bernie Thomas, Lummi Nation School Education Director, says “Green energy may not yet possess the panacea solution to global warming, but incremental, positive steps like the Solar Project at Lummi Nation School, and partnerships with NWIC faculty, help the tribal member students envisage solutions to incubate and grow. As our students make their way into their individual lives, they understand that reversing climate change is in the hands of their generation.”
For Lummi Nation, the installation is not an academic exercise. Survival as a tribe, a nation and a global community relies on adapting to wildly changing circumstances, including protecting energy and food sources. Energy sovereignty is crucially important for securing the tribe’s future and insuring against a changing climate. This project is only the beginning, but for Lummi Nation, the future is in clean energy!
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Spark Northwest provides publications, guidebooks and web tools that help communities pursue clean energy projects.