DOE Selects 11 Tribal Communities to Deploy Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy Tech

March 23, 2015
As part of the Obama Administration’s commitment to partner with Tribal Nations, these projects provide Indian Tribes and Alaska Native villages clean energy options that will reduce fossil fuel use and save money.

The U.S. Department of Energy has announced that 11 tribal communities will receive nearly $6 million to accelerate the implementation of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies on tribal lands.

As part of the Obama Administration’s commitment to partner with Tribal Nations, these projects provide Indian Tribes and Alaska Native villages clean energy options that will reduce fossil fuel use and save money. With tribal renewable energy resources comprising approximately five percent of all U.S. renewable energy resources, these facility- and community-scale projects support national energy goals to strengthen tribal energy self-sufficiency, create jobs and further economic development.

The projects represent a total investment value of $13.5 million. The department’s funding is expected to be leveraged by nearly $7.5 million in cost share by the selected Indian Tribes.

“The Energy Department is committed to helping Native American tribes develop clean, affordable and reliable energy options,” said Kathleen Hogan, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency. “By harnessing America’s clean energy on tribal lands, tribes across the country can cut energy bills, spur economic development and advance energy solutions in their local communities.”

Since 2002, DOE’s Tribal Energy Program has invested $41.8 million in 183 tribal clean energy projects, and, in collaboration with DOE’s Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs, continues to provide financial and technical assistance to tribes for the evaluation and development of their renewable energy resources, implementation of energy efficiency technologies to reduce energy use, and provides education and training to help build the knowledge and skills essential for sustainable energy projects.

The Office of Indian Energy and the Tribal Energy Program promote tribal energy sufficiency and foster economic development and employment on tribal lands through the development of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies. 

The projects competitively selected to receive funding today in alphabetical order are:

  • Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians (Palm Springs, CA) – The Tribe will install a 76.9 kilowatt solar photovoltaic (PV) system to offset the energy usage costs of the Tribal Education and Family Services offices, saving $20,000 annually.
  • Bishop Paiute Tribe (Bishop, CA) – The Tribe’s Residential Solar Program will deploy at least 58 kilowatts of grid-tied rooftop solar PV systems on 22 single-family low-income homes on the reservation, reducing energy use by 60 percent and saving homeowners about $490,000 over the life of the systems.
  • Central Council Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska (Juneau, AK) – The Council will complete energy efficiency retrofits to the Tribe’s 40,873 square-foot headquarters building, reducing energy use by 30 percent and saving $15,399 annually.
  • Oneida Nation of New York (Oneida, NY) – The Tribe intends to make energy- efficient upgrades at its utility plant, promoting the Nation’s self-sustaining use of clean energy and reducing dependency on fossil fuels, increasing production by 1.4 megawatts and saving $1 million annually.
  • Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin (Oneida, WI) – The Tribe will install 695 kilowatts of solar on nine of the Tribe’s government facilities. The systems will generate more than 800,000 kilowatt-hours, reducing energy consumption by 10 percent and saving approximately $73,000 annually.
  • Pala Band of Mission Indians (Pala, CA) – The Tribe will install a 94-kilowatt solar photovoltaic system at the Pala Fire Station to displace 95 percent of grid-based electricity for the facility. The system is expected to save over $24,000 the first year and $1.3 million over the life of the system.
  • Santo Domingo Tribe (Santo Domingo Pueblo, NM) – The Santo Domingo Tribe (formerly known as the Kewa Pueblo) will install a ground-mounted, 115-kilowatt PV system to power the Tribe’s community water pump and treatment facility, which has the highest energy demand on the reservation. Expected savings are $20,000 annually based on a 75 to 85 percent reduction in power consumption.
  • Soboba Band of Luiseno Indians (San Jacinto, CA) – The Tribe will install a 1 MW ground mounted solar PV system to meet 80 percent of the annual energy needs of key community facilities. The project will provide jobs and $6.4 million in savings over 20 years which can be redirected to other vital community needs.
  • Standing Rock Sioux Tribe (Fort Yates, ND) – The Tribe will install 636 kilowatts of solar PV at five Sitting Bull College buildings. The project will result in decreased short-term energy costs of 20 percent, saving $74,000 annually and providing significant tribal job and training opportunities at the college.
  • Tonto Apache Tribe (Payson, AZ) – The Tribe will install 172 kilowatts of solar PV and solar water heating systems in its gymnasium, waste water treatment facility, waste water holding tank and the Tribe’s market. Expected savings are over 35 percent in electricity and propane costs and approximately $1.6 million over the life of the systems.
  • Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California (Gardnerville, NV) – The Tribe will install 161 kilowatts of solar PV in the communities of Carson, Stewart and Dresslerville to achieve net-zero energy use in seven tribally owned buildings, saving $30,000 annually. 

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