Chéri Smith on Eradicating Energy Poverty in Indigenous Communities

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In this episode of Flanigan’s Eco-Logic, Ted speaks with Chéri Smith, President and CEO of the The Alliance for Tribal Clean Energy. ATCE is an Indigenous-led nonprofit that supports the self-determined efforts of Native American tribes transitioning to a clean energy future. It was founded in 2016 by Chéri, and formerly known as the Indigenous Energy Initiative (IEI).

Chéri also serves as an Advisor to the Yale School of Business and the Environment, served as an Advisory Board member for the Masters in Renewable Energy degree program at Penn State, and as a Buffalo & Erie County, NY Workforce Investment Board Director. She is an MIT Indigenous Communities Fellow, a Cordes Fellow, and a Climate Leader, trained by former Vice President, Al Gore.

She has 20+ years of experience in senior leadership and consulting roles with organizations including Tesla/SolarCity, U.S. Department of Energy, Interstate Renewable Energy Council, American Council on Renewable Energy, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, and Boston University.

She and Ted discuss her background, born and raised in the Boston area, descended through both of her parents, from the Mi'kmaq nation of Northern Maine and the Canadian Maritimes. They also discuss the evolution of Indigenous Energy Initiative, from its grassroots origins to becoming the Alliance for Tribal Clean Energy. 

With the passing of the IRA, The Alliance is providing the critical technical and financial assistance and wrap-around services tribes are currently seeking in order to build their own capacity – to access and manage the historic amounts of federal energy infrastructure and climate funding, and to ensure these historic investments are implemented in an equitable and just way. As a 25-year veteran of the renewable energy sector, Chéri is leveraging her deep experience and relationships to support tribes in their self-determined pursuit of renewable energy as a means to diminish poverty, mitigate climate change, and restore true sovereignty and hope.
Chéri Smith on Eradicating Energy Poverty in Indigenous Communities
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