The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced today funding for 24 American Indian and Alaska Native communities to deploy clean energy and energy efficiency projects. DOE plans to invest over $9 million in 16 facility- and community-scale energy projects in 24 tribal communities.
As part of the Obama Administration’s commitment to partner with Tribal Nations, these projects provide Indian Tribes and Alaska Native villages with clean energy solutions that will save communities money and reduce carbon pollution. DOE’s funding is expected to be leveraged by nearly $16 million in cost sharing under the selected tribal clean energy projects, meaning the projects represent a potential total investment value exceeding $25 million.
“The Energy Department is committed to maximizing the development and deployment of energy solutions for the benefit of American Indians and Alaska Natives,” said Christopher Deschene, Director of DOE’s Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs. “By providing tribal communities and Alaska Native villages with knowledge, skills, and resources, we hope to help tribal communities harness their local indigenous renewable energy resources, reduce their energy costs, create jobs, and help implement successful strategic energy solutions.”
According to a report by DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, CO, while Indian land represents less than two percent of the total U.S. land base, it contains an estimated five percent of all U.S. renewable energy resources.
Since 2002, DOE’s Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs and its predecessor program have invested over $50 million in nearly 200 tribal clean energy projects. IE continues to provide financial and technical assistance to Indian tribes and Alaska Native villages for the evaluation, development, and deployment of their renewable energy resources, implementation of energy efficiency technologies to reduce energy use, and education and training to help build the knowledge and skills essential for sustainable energy projects. “Within every challenge lie the seeds of opportunity, and I believe tribes are well positioned to cultivate those seeds through visionary leadership and strategic energy planning,” said Deschene.
The projects competitively selected to receive funding today in alphabetical order are as follows. The costs shown are subject to negotiations and DOE review and approval of cost share reduction requests.
- Akwesasne Housing Authority (Hogansburg, New York) – The Housing Authority will install nearly 615 kilowatt (kW) of solar photovoltaic (PV) community-scale solar facilities that will provide clean energy to numerous low-income tribal members’ residences and buildings on the St. Regis Mohawk Reservation, creating 11 jobs and saving nearly $.5 million over 30 years. (Requested DOE $1,000,000, Proposed Cost Share $1,219,289)
- Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (Alakanuk, Kotlik, and Noorvik, Alaska) – The Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) will work with the Native Village of Kotlik, Village of Alakanuk, and the Noorvik Native Community to implement energy efficiency retrofits in the community water treatment plants, reducing the combined operating costs for all three communities by $201,771 annually. (Requested DOE $462,373, Proposed Cost Share $217,499)
- Alaska Village Electric Cooperative, Inc. (AVEC)/Pitka’s Point Native Corporation Renewable Energy Joint Venture (Pitka’s Point, St. Mary’s, and Mountain Village, Alaska) – The Joint Venture plans to install a 900 kW wind turbine to provide about 42% of the electricity consumed by the Alaskan Native communities of Pitka’s Point, St. Mary’s, and Mountain Village. (Requested DOE $779,000, Proposed Cost Share $4,886,000)
- Bishop Paiute Tribe (Bishop, California) – The Tribe will install 120 kW of solar PV on 34 single-family low-income homes, saving those homeowners about $1.29 million over the life of the systems and continuing towards the Tribes vision to install solar energy systems on all buildings on the Reservation where technically feasible. (Requested DOE 341,384, Proposed Cost Share $342,000)
- Chippewa Cree Tribe (Box Elder, Montana) – The Tribe plans to install 21 kW of Solar PV total–on three duplexes (6 units) on the Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation to offset approximately 27.3 percent of the residents’ current aggregate annual electricity usage and reducing the 22.5 percent of gross income current spent on electricity. (Requested DOE $63,435, Proposed Cost Share $63,436)
- False Pass Tribal Council (False Pass, Alaska) – The Council will deploy a 50 kW marine hydrokinetic (tidal) power system at the Isanotski Strait in the Aleutian Islands of Alaska, lowing its very high cost of energy using this local resource. (Requested DOE $1,000,000, Proposed Cost Share $1,745,961)
- Hughes Village Council (Hughes, Alaska) – Hughes village located on the Koyukuk River, 200 miles north of the Yukon River, plan to install a 150 kW solar PV array and lithium battery to reduce diesel use by 20-25 percent per year for the entire community and helping the Tribe and City meet their joint goal of reducing diesel consumption by 50% by 2025. (Requested DOE $610,662, Proposed Cost Share $118,260)
- Little Big Horn College (Crow Agency, Montana) – The College plans to install a 45 kW roof-mounted and awning-style solar PV array, displacing more than 16 percent of electricity usage at the College Health & Wellness Center, saving $6,600 annually and providing jobs to Crow tribal members. (Requested DOE $149,892, Proposed Cost Share $50,000)
- NANA Regional Corporation (Kotzebue, Buckland, and Deering, Alaska) – The proposed project is the installation of 500 kW, 75 kW, and 50 kW of solar photovoltaic (PV) in Kotzebue, Buckland, and Deering, meeting from 20 to 40 percent of the electrical load in each village and saving the villages over $200,000 annually. (Requested DOE $999,660, Proposed Cost Share $1,841,666)
- Northern Pueblos Housing Authority on behalf of Picuris Pueblo (Santa Fe, New Mexico) – Picuris, the smallest, most isolated and poorest of New Mexico’s 19 Pueblo tribes, will construct a 1 megawatt (MW) solar array to offset 100 percent of the energy currently being consumed by the 50 homes and 12 tribal buildings on Pueblo trust land. The Pueblo currently has a power purchase agreement with the local electrical cooperative and projects to net nearly $6.5 million over the 25 year project period. (Requested DOE $1,000,000, Proposed Cost Share $1,300,000)
- Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi (Fulton, Michigan) – The Tribe, federally recognized in 1995, plans to install a natural gas combined heat and power system and generate 600 kW in electricity and 614 kW thermal power. Besides reducing electricity purchased by 82%, the project supports the Tribe’s strategic energy plan and commitment to “seven generation sustainability”. (Requested DOE $500,000, Proposed Cost Share $500,000)
- Rosebud Sioux Tribe Utility Commission (Rosebud, South Dakota) – The Rosebud Sioux Tribe, located in Todd County, one of the poorest counties in the country, plans to install 58 kW of grid-tied residential solar PV on ten homes. This project supports the Tribe’s Strategic Energy Plan and is estimated to generate 40 percent of the electricity used and save over $200,000 for those families over the life of the systems. (Requested DOE $131,772, Proposed Cost Share $131,973)
- San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians (Valley Center, Pauma Valley, and Santa Ysabel, California) – The Band will deploy clean energy systems for the partners of the San Diego Tribal Energy Collaborative, which include San Pasqual, La Jolla, and Mesa Grande reservations. The Collaborative will install 42 grid-tied solar electric PV systems totaling at least 170 kW on 40 qualified existing low-income single-family homes and two community buildings, which should reduce the amount of energy purchased by the families by at least 50.(Requested DOE $500,000, Proposed Cost Share $500,000)
- Soboba Band of Luiseno Indians (San Jacinto, California) – The Band propose to install a 1 MW of ground mounted, fixed tilt, solar photovoltaic (PV) generating system, saving over $6 million in electric bills over 20 years which can be re-directed to vital community needs. (Requested DOE $500,000, Proposed Cost Share $1,666,130)
- Sokaogon Chippewa Community – Mole Lake Band of Lake Superior Chippewa (Crandon, Wisconsin) – The Sokaogon Chippewa Community in Forest County, Wisconsin, plans to install 605.36 kW of solar PV to serve 15 governmental buildings on the Reservation. This project, consistent with the Tribe’s strong environmental commitment, is estimated to save the Tribe over $2 million over the 30 year life of the systems and provide job and training opportunities for tribal members. (Requested DOE $1,000,000, Proposed Cost Share $1,152,925)
- White Earth Reservation Tribal Council (White Earth, Minnesota) – The White Earth Nation plan to install 60.8 kW of ground-mounted solar PV systems ranging in size from 12 to 36.5 KW on 3 community buildings, savings over $350,000 over the 30 year project life. (Requested DOE $149,019, Proposed Cost Share $149,020)