The U.S. DOE’s Office of Indian Energy released a report titled “Solar Energy Prospecting in Remote Alaska: An Economic Analysis of Solar Photovoltaics in the Last Frontier State.” The analysis, conducted by DOE’s National Renewable Energy Lab’s (NREL), focuses on two of the most pressing issues for remote Indian Alaska – reducing or stabilizing the unsustainably high cost of diesel generation, and providing reliable and resilient energy in areas that lack infrastructure. The report finds that significant potential exists for strategically deployed solar photovoltaic systems in remote Arctic villages and communities. In fact, the solar resource in some regions of Alaska “is at least comparable, if not favorable, to that of Germany, which leads the world in solar PV installations.”
“These efforts support President Obama’s commitment to strengthen the government-to-government relationship with tribal nations,” Secretary of Energy Moniz said. “By building energy awareness and expanding existing networks, Indian tribes and Alaska Native communities are better positioned to find energy solutions that fit with their unique needs.”
Secretary Moniz is in Alaska to participate in a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee field hearing to examine opportunities for Alaska’s energy future through energy technology innovation and deployment.
DOE recognizes that in many remote Alaska Native villages, the high cost of energy and the logistical challenges associated with transporting diesel and heating oil to remote villages can be an economic and environmental burden. Since 2002, the department has invested over $15 million in nearly 200 tribal projects – $5 million in the last two years alone – through grants and technical assistance for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects that aim to address many of these high energy cost issues. DOE’s work in Native Alaska is based on strong partnerships with local communities, their utilities, their governments, Native Corporations, non-profits, the state, and federal partners.
Through today’s Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), DOE will continue to maximize the development and deployment of energy solutions for the benefit of American Indians and Alaska Natives.
A FOA webinar will be held for potential applicants on March 1 from 1-3 Mountain. Those interested can register for the FOA webinar here.