DOE funds clean energy projects for 24 American Indian and Alaska Native communities

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced today funding for 24 American Indian and Alaska Native communities to deploy clean energy and energy efficiency projects, including a small marine hydrokinetic (MHK) tidal energy system.

DOE said that it plans to invest more than “US$9 million in 16 facility- and community-scale energy projects in 24 tribal communities.”

According to the announcement, all of the projects were competitively selected to receive funding. The costs are subject to negotiations and DOE review, and approval of cost share reduction requests. The sole MHK project selected includes the following:

As part of the Obama Administration’s commitment to partner with Tribal Nations, these projects 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.”

According to a report by DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colo., 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 (IE) and its predecessor program have invested more than $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,” Deschene said, “and I believe tribes are well positioned to cultivate those seeds through visionary leadership and strategic energy planning.”

To see the list and associated costs for all of the projects, click on the link to view the full DOE announcement.

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Gregory B. Poindexter formerly was an associate editor for

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