The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the Denali Commission, an independent federal agency that provides utility, infrastructure and economic support throughout Alaska, have announced that five Alaska Native communities will receive technical expertise through the Strategic Technical Assistance Response Team (START) program.
Through the START awards, each Alaska Native tribe will receive technical assistance focused on community-based energy planning, energy awareness and training programs, and clean energy deployment and financing opportunities.
Additionally, each village is eligible for up to $250,000 in financial assistance to deploy a renewable energy or energy efficiency project, supported by the DOE's Tribal Energy grant program.
"Through the START program, we are helping Native American and Alaska Native communities increase local generation capacity, enhance energy efficiency measures and create job opportunities in the new clean energy economy," says Tracey A. LeBeau, director of the DOE's Office of Indian Energy. "The technical assistance awards for clean energy tribal projects announced today will help advance sustainable rural resources, while addressing the unique energy challenges facing Alaskan communities."
The following Alaska Native entities were selected for the 2013 START program and will receive technical assistance over the next six to nine months:
– Native Village of Kongiganak will receive assistance to strengthen existing wind energy infrastructure, efficiency measures and smart grid technology development.
– Native Village of Koyukuk will receive assistance with upgrades to its energy infrastructure and identification of energy efficiency and biomass opportunities.
– Native Village of Minto will receive assistance to identify energy efficiency biomass, and solar energy opportunities.
– Native Village of Shishmaref will receive assistance with efforts to build capacity and increase sustainability within the village to mitigate current energy and community relocation challenges.
– Yakutat T'lingit Tribe will receive assistance with prioritizing renewable energy projects, evaluating feasibility studies, fostering community support and identifying the next steps to move projects forward, including biomass, ocean energy and efficiency measures.