As part of the Obama Administration's commitment to strengthening partnerships with Tribal Nations and supporting tribal energy development, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced that 19 clean energy projects to receive more than $6.5 million. These competitively selected projects will allow Native American Tribes to advance clean energy within their communities by assessing local energy resources, developing renewable energy projects and deploying clean energy technologies. These projects will help Tribal communities across the country save money and create new job and business opportunities.
"As President Obama highlighted in the State of the Union, the Administration is committed to building an American economy that lasts and leverages our nation's clean energy resources," said Secretary Chu. "The awards announced today will help Tribes across the country advance a sustainable energy future for their local communities, spur economic development, and advance innovative clean energy technologies."
The Energy Department has taken a number of steps to strengthen its support for Tribal energy development and empower Tribal leaders to make informed decisions that promote community economic development. Over the past year, the Department has established the Indian Country Energy Infrastructure Working Group with Tribal leaders from across the country and launched programs to provide technical assistance and support to help Tribal communities, colleges and universities deploy energy projects and gain skills in energy development and financing.
Since 2002, the Energy Department's Tribal Energy Program has provided $36 million to 159 tribal energy projects.
The projects selected for negotiation of award today fall under three project areas:
$3.6 Million for Feasibility Studies -- Thirteen projects will receive $3.6 million to assess the technical and economic viability of developing renewable energy resources on tribal lands to generate utility-scale power or study the feasibility of installing renewable energy systems on buildings to reduce energy use by 30 percent.
$1.7 Million for Renewable Energy Development Projects -- Four projects will receive $1.7 million for pre-construction development activities. Three are developing more than 250 megawatts of new renewable energy generation, and one, when implemented, would reduce the need for diesel fuel for heating by 80 percent -- or 9,600 gallons annually.
$1.3 Million for Installation Projects -- Two projects will receive $1.3 million to deploy renewable energy technologies to convert waste and other biomass to energy. Once installed, the projects will generate 5 megawatts of energy per hour using municipal solid waste and using cordwood for heating to save between 2,500 and 3,200 gallons of propane.
The tribal energy projects announced today were selected as a result of a DOE funding opportunity announcement issued last year.
Under the authority of Title V of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy's Tribal Energy Program, in coordination with the Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs, provides financial and technical assistance to Indian Tribes for the evaluation and development of their renewable energy resources, implementation of energy efficiency to reduce energy use, and provides education and training to help build the knowledge and skills essential for sustainable tribal energy projects.