The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently granted 31 tribal energy projects $6.3 million, which will be distributed over two years, as part of the department’s ongoing efforts to support tribal energy development. The money is divided with more than $2.17 million going toward feasibility studies, more than $2.14 million going to first-steps planning projects, and more than $2 million to be used for installation of projects on tribal lands.
Competitively selected, the Indian tribes chosen to advance clean energy within their communities will develop strategic energy plans, expand the skills and knowledge of tribal members and improve the energy efficiency of their buildings. According to a DOE press release, investments will help tribal communities save money and reduce energy waste, expand the use of clean energy technologies and promote economic development.
The Juneau, Alaska-based Tlingit Haida Regional Housing Authority (THRHA) received the most funding by far: $898,772 for energy assessments, alternative energy monitoring and energy conservation upgrades for low-income, multi-family residences in 14 southeast Alaskan communities with extremely high energy costs. THRHA will also provide home energy assessments, energy conservation education and energy use monitoring for 400 families.
THRHA beat the tribal entity to receive the second highest funding amount by a long shot. The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of Pablo, Montana will receive $275,000 to make energy efficiency improvements in tribal buildings and help the tribes meet a major objective of its Flathead Reservation Comprehensive Resources Plan to implement energy conservation measures in all future construction projects and in existing tribal facilities.
DOE’s Tribal Energy Program provides financial and technical assistance to tribes to evaluate and develop their renewable energy resources and for implementation of energy efficiency technologies. In addition, the program provides education and training to help build the knowledge and skills essential for sustainable energy projects.