In a significant step towards advancing clean energy technology and promoting energy sustainability in American Indian and Alaska Native communities, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced a $38 million investment in 13 projects. This funding is in line with President Biden’s commitment to lower energy costs, enhance energy security, and improve grid resilience for Tribal communities.
The DOE’s latest funding initiative, unveiled as part of President Biden’s ambitious Investing in America agenda, seeks to address the pressing energy challenges faced by many Native communities across the United States. These challenges include disproportionately high energy costs, frequent power outages, and limited access to reliable energy sources. The $38 million investment aims to rectify these disparities and promote energy sustainability among American Indian and Alaska Native populations.
U.S. Secretary of Energy, Jennifer M. Granholm, emphasized the urgency of addressing these issues, stating, “American Indian and Alaska Native communities are disproportionally affected by climate change, facing high and ever-increasing energy costs and unreliable or nonexistent energy sources. The projects selected today will help Tribes build resiliency and stabilize energy costs while contributing to the Biden-Harris Administration’s broader goal of a net-zero economy by 2050.”
The 13 projects that have been selected for funding are expected to make a significant impact on the energy landscape of Native communities. These cost-shared projects, valued at nearly $55 million in total, are projected to result in the generation of over 9.6 megawatts of clean energy and the installation of more than 2,600 megawatt-hours of battery storage. These improvements are set to benefit over 1,300 Tribal buildings, with estimated savings of over $125 million over the life of the systems. This investment promises substantial and sustainable benefits for underserved communities, improving their quality of life year after year.
Projects Selected for Funding
- Alaska Village Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Anchorage, AK)
- Barona Group of Capitan Grande Band of Mission Indians (Lakeside, CA)
- Chitina Electric, Inc. (Chitina, AK)
- Cocopah Indian Tribe (Somerton, AZ)
- Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa (Cloquet, MN)
- Forest County Potawatomi Community (Crandon, WI)
- Metlakatla Indian Community (Metlakatla, AK)
- Minnesota Chippewa Tribe – White Earth Band of Chippewa Indians (Ogema, MN)
- Muscogee (Creek) Nation (Okmulgee, OK)
- Northwest Arctic Borough (Kotzebue, AK)
- Oneida Indian Nation (Oneida, NY)
- Penobscot Indian Nation (Indian Island, ME)
- Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa (Tama, IA)
These clean energy projects were selected through a competitive funding opportunity announcement (FOA) released on February 2, 2023. Through these initiatives, the Office of Indian Energy aims to strengthen Tribal energy and economic infrastructure, resource development, and electrification on Tribal lands.
Between 2010 and 2022, the U.S. DOE Office of Indian Energy invested over $120 million in more than 210 Tribal energy projects implemented across the contiguous 48 states and Alaska. These projects, valued at more than $215 million, are leveraged by over $93 million in recipient cost share.