The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced two new initiatives aimed at driving increased renewable energy production and sustainable economic development on tribal lands.
At the White House Tribal Nations Conference, held this week, DOE Secretary Steven Chu issued a policy statement and guidance that gives preference to American Indian tribes when the DOE's facilities contract to purchase renewable energy products or byproducts, including electricity, fuel sources and renewable energy certificates.
Under this policy, DOE 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 DOE's authorities under the Energy Policy Act of 2005.
This procurement policy will help spur the development of untapped renewable energy resources on American Indian lands near DOE facilities and help tribes capture the economic benefits of their own resources, the DOE says.
The DOE also unveiled new training and educational resources to help U.S. Tribal Nations advance local renewable energy project financing and development.
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. While American Indian land comprises about 2% of all U.S. land, the analysis found that Indian lands contain 5% of total U.S. renewable energy resource potential, including high generation potential for wind, solar and hydropower, among other renewable energy resources.