Spotlight on a Tribal Energy Leader - Darryl Pyawasay (Menominee)
Renewable Energy Manager, Menominee Tribe
What is your role with the Menominee Tribe?
This is a brand new position that was created by the tribe last year. My responsibilities are to develop and implement plans for advancing renewable energy for tribal facilities, homes, and large scale systems. I also support educational programs and training to help ensure that our community members can get the jobs created by projects. We are also working on general energy literacy which is more important now than ever. I also steward strategic partnerships with other tribes, organizations, and industry partners.
How did you come into this line of work?
Worked as an electrician for a big chemical company for years. Electricity is something I kind of grew up with. I have always enjoyed working with electricity and power systems. As a member of the tribal utilities team, I also have a working knowledge of all of the tribe’s infrastructure including water and wastewater treatment, and all of the power requirements we have. More recently I looked at the electrical cost of operating my own small farm and began experimenting with solar myself, and also a wind generator. When the tribe decided to get into renewables and create this position, I was excited to get involved and hopefully fulfill my goal to use my experience and lessons to help my tribe.
What is motivating you now?
The people here. Reservations are small and many people are considered family. Helping my tribe is helping my family. I really want to help them save money on energy bills. Money is tight. Anything we can do to save money helps. There is also a great opportunity for tribes to be leaders in renewable energy. It is very aligned with our values. The Menominee have a long track record of caring for forests and Earth. Now we can apply those values to energy.
How is Indigenized Energy supporting you?.
Indignized Energy is helping us pursue many of the opportunities that will help us grow our renewable infrastructure. They bring a lot of experience in implementing programs in other tribal communities that are hugely valuable. .Any time I have questions, I get quick answers. They have written grants, secured funds, and also conducted workshops in our community on solar economics, energy literacy. as well as hands-on solar instruction. They meet with me each week. I feel like my job is important and I have a big responsibility to my people. It feels like Indigenized Energy has my back.
Caption: Darryl Pyawasay, Renewable Energy Manager, Menominee Nation.