US Department of Energy awards $9 million to tribal communities to improve energy security and resilience


The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced nearly $9 million in funding to 13 Native American and Alaska Native communities for 14 projects that will harness their vast undeveloped solar, hydroelectric, and geothermal energy resources, reduce or stabilize energy costs and increase energy security and resilience on tribal lands. The projects will provide communities with clean electricity, power residential buildings that lack electricity, install micro-grids and increase opportunities for workforce training. This funding will help meet the needs of small, rural and underserved communities, critical to President Biden’s goal of a just transition to clean energy.

“Tribal communities are steeped in knowledge and ingenuity around sustainable energy infrastructure and they are ready to help lead the country as we make a just transition to clean,” said U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Mr Granholm. “With this investment, the DOE continues its work with Native American and Alaska Native communities to build stronger, more resilient tribal nations.”

Collectively, the 14 selected projects awarded to 13 Native American and Alaska Native communities are expected to generate 3.3 megawatts of new clean energy generation and more than 3.6 megawatt hours of battery storage, serve more than 1,200 tribal buildings and providing a total of $48.5 million in system lifetime savings for these communities.

The selected candidates are:

  • The Coeur d’Alene Tribe (Plummer, ID) will install solar photovoltaic (PV) power on a new youth recreation center. (Amount of scholarship: $68,129)
  • The Colusa Indian Community Council (Colusa, CA) will extend the existing medium voltage distribution to seven homes in its new development to provide new homes with highly reliable power using the tribe’s existing cogeneration plant and microgrid. (Amount of scholarship: $517,200)
  • The Karuk Tribe (Happy Camp, Calif.) will install solar photovoltaic panels for their casino and new wellness center, saving them approximately $9.8 million over the life of the systems. (Amount of scholarship: $1,390,680)
  • The Karuk Tribe (Happy Camp, Calif.) will install photovoltaic solar panels and storage batteries on 39 seniors’ homes to power critical loads during grid outages. (Amount of scholarship: $426,757)
  • Kawerak, Inc. (Nome, AK) will install an organic Rankine cycle system using local geothermal resources at Pilgrim Hot Springs to electrify and heat 18 existing tribal buildings, a water well, a water pump and two swimming pools , enabling the economic development of this historic site located 60 miles north of Nome, Alaska. (Amount of prize: $1,524,376)
  • La Jolla Band of Luiseno Indians (Pauma Valley, CA) will install photovoltaic solar panels and storage batteries to provide electricity to the La Jolla Trading Post, the only store and gas station on the La Jolla Indian Reservation, saving more than $1.3 million on the life of the system and providing hands-on training for tribe members. (Amount of scholarship: $511,610)
  • The Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe (Cass Lake, MN) will install photovoltaic solar panels to power nine existing and under construction tribal buildings, saving more than $2.5 million over the life of the systems. (Amount of scholarship: $729,049)
  • Lummi Nation (Bellingham, WA) will install photovoltaic solar panels on a new 50,000 square foot health and dental facility, saving money and training seven tribal members. (Amount of scholarship: $158,019)
  • The Indian Community of Metlakatla (Metlakatla, AK) will rebuild and install key components for two hydroelectric turbines and replace an aging battery to increase turbine power output by 20% and reduce the use of diesel generators. (Amount of prize: $967,258)
  • The Muckleshoot Indian Tribe (Auburn, WA) will install photovoltaic solar panels on three tribal buildings and provide training for tribal members. (Amount of scholarship: $248,448)
  • The Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians (Corning, CA) will install solar photovoltaic panels on three buildings at the Rolling Hills Clinic of the Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians, reducing electricity costs by 94% and saving $36 $470 per year. (Amount of scholarship: $203,866)
  • Pueblo de Laguna (Laguna, NM) will install photovoltaic solar panels on community buildings in three villages and save 70% on electricity costs. (Amount of scholarship: $174,765)
  • The Puvurnaq Power Company (Kongiganak, AK), a tribe-owned village utility, will purchase, install and integrate a solar photovoltaic system into an existing wind-powered diesel battery power system in the village of Kongiganak, enabling diesel engines to be off 56% of the year and save over 48,000 gallons of fuel per year. (Amount of scholarship: $674,330)
  • The Kayenta Chapter of the Navajo Nation Tribal Government (Kayenta, AZ) will install photovoltaic solar panels, storage batteries and a backup propane generator to provide clean electricity to 24 unpowered homes in the Comb Ridge community/ El Capitan in the Kayenta Chapter of the Navajo Nation and the creation of five temporary full-time positions and three full-time positions for the life of the system. (Amount of prize: $1,185,409)

“For too long, the needs of tribal families have been put on the back burner by Congress. But the federal government has treaty and trust obligations to the tribes. Since joining Congress in 2017, I have worked to make sure we hold our end of the bargain and to expand access to broadband, electricity, clean running water and more for families in across Indian Country,” said U.S. Representative Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01).

Upcoming Tribal Consultation

Secretary Granholm also invited leaders of federally recognized Indian tribes and Alaska Native corporations to a formal consultation session on March 29, 2022, to help guide the department in developing more than 60 new programs and the implementation of $62.5 billion in Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act funding. (IIJA) and to ensure that this historic investment has the greatest possible positive impact on tribal communities.

Register here for the IIJA Virtual Consultation Session on Tuesday, March 29, 2022, 2-5 p.m. ET. Written comments can be submitted to [email protected] and will be accepted until 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time Friday, April 8, 2022.

Support tribal and indigenous communities

The statutory charter of the DOE Office of Indian Energy is to promote the development, efficiency and utilization of tribal energy, reduce or stabilize energy costs, improve and enhance tribal energy and the economic infrastructure, and to bring power and services to Indian lands and homes. The Bureau carries out these responsibilities through a three-pronged approach that includes financial assistance through competitive grants, technical assistance provided without change to Indian tribes and tribal entities, and education and capacity building. capacities.

Since 2010, the DOE’s Office of Indian Energy has invested more than $114 million in more than 200 tribal energy projects in the contiguous 48 states and Alaska, valued at nearly $200 million. Through these grants, the DOE’s Office of Indian Energy continues its efforts, in partnership with Indigenous communities, to maximize the deployment of energy solutions to benefit American Indians and Alaska Natives.

Learn more about these newly selected projects on the Office of Indian Energy website.


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