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US$17 Million for Energy Infrastructure on Tribal Lands

March 20, 2019
Department of Energy funding aimed at harnessing undeveloped energy resources

Indian tribes interested in harnessing their undeveloped energy resources can now get up to US$17 million in new funding to deploy energy infrastructure on tribal lands, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced. The funds will be made available through its Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs. The Indian tribes that will be supported include Alaska Native Regional Corporations and Village Corporations, Intertribal Organizations, and Tribal Energy Development Organizations.

The funding opportunity announcement (FOA) takes forward the government’s plan to accelerate the deployment of energy infrastructure on tribal lands. According to the DOE, the FOA is consistent with the principles of tribal sovereignty and self-determination, with an all of-the-above energy strategy that recognizes the breadth of energy resources on tribal lands, and each tribe’s right to use them as they see fit. Projects sought under this FOA are fuel and technology neutral.

“Through this funding opportunity, the Department will continue its efforts to maximize the deployment of energy solutions for the benefit of American Indians and Alaska Natives, and help build the knowledge, skills and resources needed to implement those solutions,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry.

“Alaska’s more than 200 villages and rural communities make up about one-fifth of the population of our state,” Lisa Murkowski, the Republican senator from Alaska, said. “The cultures, languages and geography are incredibly diverse, but one common challenge in these communities is the extremely high cost of energy. Congress has recognized this challenge and continued to fund the Office of Indian Energy to help address it. The investments made through this program will help generate cleaner energy and reduce energy costs, which is critical in Alaska Native and Native American communities alike.”

Through grants awarded as result of this FOA, DOE intends to provide financial support under the provisions of the Title V of EPAct 2005. Specifically, the Office of Indian Energy is soliciting applications from Indian tribes to:

  1. Install energy generating system(s) and/or energy efficiency measure(s) for tribal building(s)
  2. Deploy community-scale energy generating system(s) on tribal lands 
  3. Install energy system(s) for autonomous operation (independent of the traditional centralized electric power grid) to power a single or multiple essential tribal facilities during emergency situations or for tribal community resilience

Applications may also be submitted on behalf of an Indian tribe(s) by an authorized tribal organization.

The intended results of the 50% cost-shared projects selected under this FOA are to reduce or stabilize energy costs and increase energy security and resilience for Indian tribes and Alaska Native villages. 

The full FOA is available online. Applications are due May 1, 2019. 

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