The United States Department of Energy has announced $35 million in new funding possibilities for the installation of renewable energy infrastructure on tribal grounds and the electrification of previously unconnected tribal facilities. This investment will aid Native American communities in realising the many advantages that come with the widespread adoption of renewable energy, hence fostering economic growth and development on Tribal lands. The funding will aid the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts to increase Tribal energy sovereignty and guarantee Tribal participation in the historic transition to an inclusive and equitable clean energy future, both of which were made possible by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act.
U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm has said that “DOE is focused to decreasing energy prices in Tribal communities and ensuring they are not left behind in the transition to a sustainable energy future.” To support Native American communities that are too frequently without access to cheap electricity, “The President’s Agenda is making investments in low-cost and dependable sustainable energy throughout Indian Country.”
Earlier this month, the Department of Energy (DOE) hosted the seventh in a series of biannual Tribal Clean Energy Summits, where top officials discussed Tribal energy challenges in depth with tribal leaders and major energy partners. Secretary Granholm hosted a nation-to-nation discussion with Tribal leaders at the Summit to exchange ideas and discuss efficient methods for using sustainable energy to improve Tribal communities’ economic and energy foundations, adapt to changing climatic conditions, and boost their overall security.
The financial opportunity announcements (FOAs) are a continuation of the critical debates that took place at the Summit, as well as the work of the Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs and the authority provided by the Energy Policy Act of 2005. More than 200 tribal energy projects in the United States received approximately $114 million in funding from the Department of Energy between 2010 and 2021. In addition to providing electricity to nearly 8,600 Tribal buildings, these investments have contributed significantly to the President’s Justice40 programme, which aims to distribute 40% of the total benefits of government sustainable energy investments to disadvantaged and underrepresented communities.
The Office of Indian Energy is now accepting submissions for the deployment of sustainable energy technologies on Tribal grounds and the powering of unelectrified Tribal structures in an effort to maintain this pace and optimise the return on earlier investments. Funded projects should improve energy diversity, equality, inclusion, and accessibility, and the reduced cost share for these FOAs will assist lessen the financial strain on Native communities. The Office of Indian Energy Funding Opportunity Exchange has further details on the available funding opportunities.
As an additional resource, the Office of Indian Energy will hold webinars for interested parties to learn more about the various requests for proposals (RFPs). Sign up for the Powering Unelectrified Tribal Buildings FOA webinar here, and the Clean Energy Technology Deployment on Tribal Lands webinar here.