Following on the heels of the U.S. Department of the Interior's (DOI) recently announced initiative aimed at facilitating renewable energy development on tribal lands, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has also launched a new program designed to advance clean energy generation in Indian Country.
The new Strategic Technical Assistance Response Team (START) initiative will provide federally recognized Native American and Alaska Native governments with technical assistance to accelerate clean energy project deployment.
Through START, experts from the DOE and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory will work directly with community-based project teams to evaluate financial and technical feasibility and provide early development technical assistance to get these projects better positioned for financing and construction.
The START initiative will further serve to help Native American and Alaska Native communities increase local generation capacity, enhance energy efficiency and conservation measures, and create entrepreneurial and job opportunities in the new clean energy economy, the DOE explains.
Awards through this initiative will be provided through two programs:
- START Program: Tribes selected for this program will be paired with DOE experts who have clean energy deployment experience relevant to the selected tribe's project development stage and technology.
- Alaska START Program: Leveraging the combined technical expertise and resources of the DOE and the Denali Commission, this program will help selected Alaska Native communities conduct community-based planning and training and implement a variety of clean energy projects, such as energy-storage infrastructure, renewable energy deployment and housing energy efficiency.
"By leveraging our technical resources and expertise, we will help tribal communities, entrepreneurs and small businesses create jobs, reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, and build a sustainable energy future," says Energy Secretary Steven Chu. "Working together, we can strengthen the energy security and economic competitiveness of tribal homes and businesses."