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Energy Department Expands Technical Assistance for Tribal Energy Projects

On January 30, the U.S. Department of Energy announced the second round of its program to help tribal communities improve their energy securities.

On January 30, the United States Department of Energy announced its second round of the Strategic Technical Assistance Response Team (START) Program that potentially could enhance the energy security and sustainable energy future of tribal communities.

The program is part of President Barack Obama’s Administration’s efforts to improve living situations in federally recognized tribal communities across the country, and will provide tribal governments with technical assistance to accelerate clean energy project deployment.

Another area the program is looking to improve tribal communities is through seeking information from any tribe that has an interest in launching or expanding utility services in its communities. The information will be used to form a START Utility Program (START-UP) that hopes to assist tribes in increasing ownership of local energy assets. More information will be available at the Department of Energy website in coming weeks.

“Building on our all-of-the-above strategy to deploy every available domestic energy resource, the new technical assistance opportunities announced [January 30] will strengthen our partnerships with tribal communities, create good jobs and protect our planet,” said Office of Indian Energy Director Tracey LeBeau in a Department of Energy press release. “Working side-by-side with tribal energy leaders across the country, we are making sure Native American and Alaska Native tribes have the tools and resources they need to foster economic competitiveness and promote tribal self-sufficiency.”

In 2012 the first round of the START Program helped nine tribal communities improve their clean energy technology and infrastructure projects in areas like solar, wind, biofuels and energy efficiency. The Energy Department says this second round looks to build on the successes of 2012 and “further help Native American and Alaska Native communities increase local generation capacity, enhance energy efficiency measures and create local entrepreneurial and job opportunities.”

For more information and application requirements for the START program, visit the Energy Department’s Office of Indian Energy website. Applications are due by March 15, 2013.