Energy to Fund Critical Infrastructure Projects for Native American Communities

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Formal applications will open by November’s end.

The Energy Department unveiled new plans late last week to provide multiple grants supporting Native American communities in their efforts to develop, strengthen and secure critical energy infrastructure and access sustainable solutions.

 Tribal lands make up an estimated 2% of America’s landmass and represent an estimated 5% of the nation’s total potential for renewable energy generation. Still, many Native American families currently do not have access to reliable electricity and most face concerns around the security of their energy infrastructure. 

Energy has already supported more than 100 energy-related projects for Native communities over the last decade, but to address the issues further, the agency’s Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs released a notice of intent to issue a new funding opportunity called “Energy Infrastructure Development on Indian Lands—2020.”

“This planned funding will help Native American and Alaska Native communities harness their vast energy resources to reduce or stabilize energy costs, as well as increase energy security and resilience,” Undersecretary Mark Menezes said Thursday at the National Tribal Energy Summit in Washington.

Through the opportunity, Energy plans to solicit applications from tribes, intertribal organizations and others that aim to: deploy energy generation systems and energy efficiency efforts, provide new means for energy storage on tribal lands, offer innovative capabilities to support facilities during emergency situations, install new energy infrastructure and integrate current systems, among other efforts.

The department plans to award several grants through the opportunity. Officials will issue the formal funding announcement via the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Exchange website between now and late November.