The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced funding for 24 American Indian and Alaska Native communities to deploy clean energy and energy efficiency projects. DOE plans to invest over $9 million in 16 facility and community-scale energy projects in 24 tribal communities.
As part of the Obama Administration’s commitment to partner with Tribal Nations, these projects will provide Indian Tribes and Alaska Native villages with clean energy solutions that will save communities money and reduce carbon pollution. DOE’s funding is expected to be leveraged by nearly $16 million in cost sharing under the selected tribal energy projects, meaning the projects represent a potential total investment value exceeding $25 million.
“The Energy Department is committed to maximizing the development and deployment of energy solutions for the benefit of American Indians and Alaska Natives,” said Christopher Deschene, Director of DOE’s Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs. “By providing tribal communities and Alaska Native villages with knowledge, skills, and resources, we hope to help tribal communities harness their local indigenous renewable energy resources, reduce their energy costs, create jobs, and help implement successful strategic energy solutions.”
One project, for example, includes the joint venture between Alaska Village Electric Cooperative and Pitka’s Point Native Corporation Renewable Energy to install a 900-kW wind turbine. The turbine is expected to provide about 42% of the electricity consumed by the Alaskan Native communities of Pitka’s Point, St. Mary’s, and Mountain Village.
According to a report by DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, CO, while Indian land represents less than 2% of the total U.S. land base, it contains an estimated 5% of all U.S. renewable energy resources.
Since 2002, DOE’s Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs and its predecessor program have invested over $50 million in nearly 200 tribal clean energy projects. IE continues to provide financial and technical assistance to Indian tribes and Alaska Native villages for the evaluation, development, and deployment of their renewable energy resources, implementation of energy efficiency technologies to reduce energy use, and education and training to help build the knowledge and skills essential for sustainable energy projects.
“Within every challenge lie the seeds of opportunity, and I believe tribes are well positioned to cultivate those seeds through visionary leadership and strategic energy planning,” said Deschene.
A full list of the projects set to receive funding is available here.