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DOE Tribal Renewable Energy

13 Dec 2012

At the recent White House Tribal Nations Conference, the Department of Energy (DOE) introduced two new initiatives designed to drive increased energy production and sustainable economic development in Indian Country.

As part of the energy department’s efforts to support Tribal renewable energy production, Energy Secretary Steven Chu issued a policy statement that gives preference to Indian tribes when its facilities contract to purchase renewable energy products as specified in the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The DOE also announced new training and education resources to help the United States’ Tribal Nations promote local renewable energy project financing and development.

Secretary Chu explains that developing energy resources on Tribal Lands continues to be an important part of the Obama Administration’s all-of-the-above strategy “to deploy every available American resource. The development of these resources has—and will continue to be—important to many Tribes. By working together on important energy issues, we can grow our economies and create good jobs, while increasing our security and protecting the planet.”The DOE’s Office of Indian Energy Policy and National Renewable Energy Laboratory recently issued an updated estimate of renewable energy potential on Indian lands. American Indian land comprises about two percent of all United States land but the study found that Indian lands contain five percent of the country’s total renewable energy resource potential, including high generation potential for solar, wind, and hydropower.

The DOE reports that in its efforts to cut red tape for Tribal energy development and meet its own sustainability goals, Secretary Chu has issued a policy statement and guidance “to give preference to Indian tribes when the Department’s facilities contract to purchase renewable energy products or by products, including electricity, fuel sources and renewable energy certificates. Under this policy, Energy Department facilities can utilize this purchase preference when a Tribal nation holds a majority ownership position in a renewable energy project and the cost is no more than the prevailing market rate, pursuant to the Department’s authorities under the Energy Policy Act of 2005.”

This procurement policy will help spur the development of untapped renewable energy resources on Indian lands near Energy Department facilities and help tribes capture the economic benefits of their own resources. For more information, visit