United States Energy Secretary Steven Chu has announced funding for 19 clean energy projects that will enable Native American Tribes to promote clean energy within their communities by assessing local energy resources, developing renewable energy projects, and deploying clean energy technologies. Tribal communities will receive more than $6.5 million for these projects.
The projects selected fall under three project areas. The first area is feasibility studies. Thirteen projects will receive $3.6 million to assess the viability of developing renewable energy resources on tribal lands or installing renewable energy systems on buildings to reduce energy use by 30 percent.
The next area is renewable energy development projects. Four projects will receive $1.7 million for pre-construction development activities. The final area is for two installation projects that are receiving $1.3 million to deploy renewable energy technologies to convert waste and other biomass to energy. Once installed, the projects will generate five megawatts of energy per hour using municipal solid waste and using cordwood for heating.
Secretary Chu says, “As President Obama highlighted in the State of the Union, the Administration is committed to building an American economy that lasts and leverages our nation’s clean energy resources. The awards announced today will help Tribes across the country advance a sustainable energy future for their local communities, spur economic development, and advance innovative clean energy technologies.”
This is the latest move by the Department of Energy (DOE) to strengthen its support for tribal energy development. Over the past year, the DOE has established the Indian Country Energy Infrastructure Working Group with tribal leaders across the country and launched programs to provide technical assistance and support to help Tribal communities, colleges, and universities deploy energy project.
Since 2002, the Energy Department’s Tribal Energy Program has provided $36 million to 159 tribal energy projects.