The U.S. Department of Energy has dedicated up to $7 million to clean energy projects on tribal lands with the goal of reducing reliance on fossil fuels and promoting economic development in Indian country.
The Department’s Tribal Energy Program is teaming up with the Office of Indian Energy to help Native communities form tribal energy resource development organizations to install clean energy projects at either a community- or facility-scale, states an Energy Department press release.
Indian country is home to about 5 percent of the country’s renewable energy resources although it barely covers 2 percent of U.S. land. That equates to the potential to produce more than 9 million megawatts of renewable energy, and in turn protect the environment.
A clean energy project that would reduce fossil fuel use by at least 15 percent in new or existing tribal buildings may receive up to $4.5 million through the "Community-Scale Clean Energy Projects in Indian Country" funding opportunity, The money award is subject to congressional approval of the project. Renewable energy systems for power generation only must be a minimum of 50 kilowatts and use commercial-warrantied equipment.
Through the "Tribal Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Deployment Assistance" funding opportunity, the Department will make up to $2.5 million available, subject to congressional appropriations, for projects installing renewable energy and energy efficiency that reduce fossil fuel use in existing tribal buildings by at least 30 percent. These projects must use commercial-warrantied equipment with renewable energy systems for power generation only of at least 10 kilowatts. Leveraging state or utility incentive programs is encouraged.
The full funding announcements are also available through the Department's Tribal Energy Program website.
The Department has invested $41.8 million in 175 tribal clean energy projects over the years, and provides financial and technical assistance to tribes for the evaluation and development of their renewable energy resources, implementation of energy efficiency to reduce energy use, and education and training to help build the knowledge and skills essential for sustainable energy projects