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DOE Secretary Signs Memorandum To Purchase Tribal Energy

Dec. 18, 2023
Federal agencies can prefer Tribal majority-owned businesses through the authority of the Indian Energy Purchase Preference, part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary, Jennifer M. Granholm has signed a memorandum to purchase clean power from tribes to meet the federal government’s clean energy goals. 

“As tribes continue to lead in addressing the climate crisis, they can think of DOE as not just a partner, but a potential customer,” said Wahleah Johns, the director of DOE’s Office of Indian Energy and a citizen of the Navajo Nation.  “Secretary Granholm’s commitment can help Tribes reach the economies-of-scale needed to break ground on new community energy projects and better sustain their clean energy workforce.”

Federal agencies can prefer tribal majority-owned businesses while purchasing electricity or other energy products and byproducts through the authority of the Indian Energy Purchase Preference, part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. 

The procurement of clean energy from tribes will be through two efforts. 

Firstly, it will direct DOE’s offices to assist in connecting tribal electric generation projects to the grid to make tribal energy accessible for federal procurement. Majorly, DOE facilities will be directed to engage tribes in long-term energy planning and encourage utility companies receiving DOE funding to work effectively with Tribes. 

Secondly, the memorandum will initiate the process of updating DOE’s procurement policies under the preference to include carbon pollution-free electricity. 

DOE’s existing policies direct Tribal preference to renewable energy generation like wind and solar. These policies will be updated to include energy sources like nuclear and green hydrogen, under the memorandum. 

Lastly, the memo proposes DOE to pilot the preference beyond electricity to energy products like Energy Attribute Credits (also known as Renewable Energy Credits), which do not require a direct grid connection for Tribes to sell power products to the government.  


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