The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced funding for 24 American Indian and Alaska Native communities to deploy clean energy and energy efficiency projects.
The DOE plans to invest over $9 million in 16 facility- and community-scale energy projects in 24 tribal communities. The department expects funding to be leveraged by nearly $16 million in cost sharing under the selected tribal energy projects – meaning the projects represent a potential total investment value exceeding $25 million.
As part of the Obama administration’s commitment to partner with Tribal Nations, says the DOE, these projects provide Indian Tribes and Alaska Native villages with clean energy solutions that will save communities money and reduce carbon pollution.
According to a report by the DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colo., even though Indian land represents less than 2% of the total U.S. land base, it contains an estimated 5% of all U.S. renewable energy resources.
Since 2002, the DOE says, its Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs and its predecessor program have invested over $50 million in nearly 200 tribal clean energy projects.
A renewable energy joint venture of Alaska Village Electric Cooperative Inc. and Pitka’s Point Native Corp. plans to install a 900 kW wind turbine, which would provide about 42% of the electricity consumed by the Alaskan Native communities of Pitka’s Point, St. Mary’s and Mountain Village. The requested DOE cost is $799,000, and the proposed cost share is $4.886 million.
Other projects include solar photovoltaic projects, energy efficiency retrofits in community water-treatment plants, a natural gas combined heat and power system, and a marine hydrokinetic power system.
“By providing tribal communities and Alaska Native villages with knowledge, skills and resources, we hope to help tribal communities harness their local indigenous renewable energy resources, reduce their energy costs, create jobs and help implement successful strategic energy solutions,” says Christopher Deschene, director of the DOE’s Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs.
The full list of selected projects can be found here.