WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded $12 million in funding to 13 Native American and Alaska Native communities across the nation for projects that will reduce energy costs and increase energy security and resiliency. 

The selected projects will power their homes and communities, make buildings more energy efficient, and install microgrids for essential services and resiliency, the DOE said in an announcement Tuesday, noting that these are critical elements to the Biden Administration’s goal of reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.  

 “The Department of Energy is committed to working with American Indian and Alaska Native communities to strengthen energy infrastructure on Tribal lands,” Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said in a statement. “These selections, the first from the Office of Indian Energy this year, underscore the Biden Administration's commitment to ensuring that communities disproportionately affected by climate change directly benefit from clean energy investments." 

Since 2010, the DOE’s Office of Indian Energy has invested over $100 million in more than 190 tribal energy projects across the contiguous 48 states and Alaska, valued at over $180 million, the department said in the announcement. The grants offer tribal nations the opportunity to maximize the deployment of clean energy solutions for the benefit of their communities.

According to the DOE, the selected projects, collectively, are estimated to result in nearly 3.5 megawatts of clean energy generation and more than 3.5 megawatt-hours of battery storage, serving over 1,300 tribal buildings and saving the communities a combined $1.8 million annually. 

The awardees are: 

  • The Akiachak Native Community (Akiachak, Alaska) will receive $123,220 install energy-efficient retrofits, including furnaces in the laundry building, as well as an LED lighting upgrade and installation of setback thermostats, in five essential multi-use buildings in the Akiachak Village.   
  • The Kipnuk Light Plant, a tribally owned utility of the Native Village of Kipnuk (Kipnuk, Alaska), will receive $855,978 to purchase, install, and integrate a battery energy storage system into its standalone community wind diesel grid which will displace over 34,000 gallons of diesel fuel. 
  • The Metlakatla Indian Community (Annette Island Reserve, Alaska) will receive  $1,031,110  to complete the electrical intertie between its islanded community and the mainland community of Ketchikan, Alaska. 
  • The Native Village of Diomede (Diomede, Alaska) will receive $222,848 to install energy efficiency measures in the new store in the Village, Alaska's most remote community situated on an island in the Bering Straits. 
  • The Native Village of Noatak and the Northwest Arctic Borough (Kotzebue, Alaska) will receive $1,997,265 to deploy a high-penetration solar PV and battery energy storage hybrid system to integrate with the Village’s diesel electric grid, estimated to save the community more than $178,000 each year. 
  • The Village of Aniak (Aniak, Alaska) will receive $167,948 to install energy retrofits on four essential multi-use buildings and the Village’s Community Center. 
  • The Village of Chefornak (Chefornak, Alaska), will receive $854,964 and in cooperation with its community utility Naterkag Light Plant purchase, install, and integrate a battery storage system into its standalone community wind diesel grid. 
  • Dry Creek Rancheria Band of Pomo Indians (Geyserville, Calif.) will receive $556,984 to install of solar photovoltaics (PV) on 25 homes and a community building, as well as train 4 to 6 tribal members to install and maintain these systems. 
  • The Pala Band of Mission Indians (Pala, Calif.) will receive $3,000,000 to install solar PV systems and battery storage to provide autonomous operations of multiple essential tribal facilities during emergency situations, providing energy resilience. 
  • The San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians (Valley Center, Calif.) will receive $400,566 to install a tribal co-tenant community-scale solar PV system that will serve 80 households and one Tribal Government building.   
  • The Seminole Tribe of Florida (Hollywood, Fla.) will receive $2,158,593 to install solar PV and battery storage on its rural Reservation of Brighton to power four essential facilities. 
  • The Quinault Indian Nation (Taholah, Wash.) will receive $201,044 to install solar PV and battery storage for critical loads in their new 30,000 square foot community facility. 
  • The Ute Mountain Ute Tribe (Towaoc, Colo.), through its Towaoc Housing Solar Initiative, will receive $427,997 to install solar PV systems on 20 homes and a supportive housing facility in the community. 

READ more about the projects. 

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