Sandia Labs News Releases

Powering tribal lands: Sandia researcher to discuss off-grid, green technologies for rural areas at law seminar

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Sandra Begay-Campbell, leader of Sandia’s Tribal Renewable Energy Program and member of the Navajo Nation, will present “The Potential for Tribal Energy Resource Development in the Southwest” at the Tribal Energy in the Southwest Conference May 3-4 at Sandia Resort and Casino.

Many tribes in the Southwest are taking an increased interest in energy development, encouraged by new stimulus funds and tax incentives. Rather than simply providing land, energy or rights of way, tribes are pursuing an entrepreneurial role in energy projects, many of which utilize renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar power. Financing renewable energy projects is particularly complex and requires legal assistance with incentives and tax credits.

Sandra Begay-Campbell stands in front of Window Rock with a solar  panel.

Sandra Begay-Campbell stands in front of Window Rock with a solar panel. (Photo by Randy Montoya) Click on the thumbnail for a high-resolution image.

“The more complicated the financing, the more educated your lawyers need to be to take advantage of all the current incentives,” Begay-Campbell said. “This conference is a great opportunity to bring together both the legal experts as well as people who can provide technical information about how the technology works and how it’s chosen.”

The event is expected to draw about 100 tribal representatives, attorneys, industry executives and energy experts. Participants will hear updates about energy resource development, major federal policy initiatives to promote renewables, transmission expansion in the Southwest, utility resource planning, regulatory approval processes and compiling the appropriate financing package.

Begay-Campbell’s presentation will cover identifying tribal resources and finding a market for them, Department of Energy (DOE) grant opportunities, and resources and development. She has nine years of experience with the DOE in implementing renewable energy sources in rural areas too remote for the grid to reach.

Begay-Campbell has focused much of her work within the Navajo Nation, which spans 26,000 square miles in northwestern New Mexico, northeastern Arizona and southeastern Utah. It is home to more than a quarter of a million people; the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority (NTUA) estimates that 18,000 citizens are without electricity. She has worked to assist NTUA with the option of installing solar- and wind-powered hybrid units to power Navajo homes when the grid is not feasible. To date, roughly 300 homes are powered by these units.

The conference is sponsored by Law Seminars International, which gathers top professionals from a variety of different disciplines at conferences nationwide to provide information in its full context for decision makers.

Begay-Campbell’s presentation is scheduled for Monday, May 3, at 9:15 a.m. More information can be found at


Sandia National Laboratories is a multiprogram laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corporation, for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. With main facilities in Albuquerque, N.M., and Livermore, Calif., Sandia has major R&D responsibilities in national security, energy and environmental technologies, and economic competitiveness.


Sandia media relations contact: Stephanie Hobby, (505) 844-0948