PHOENIX, AZ—The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced $34 million in funding to advance clean energy technology in 18 American Indian and Alaska Native communities. This funding will strengthen tribal communities by supercharging their access to solar power and microgrids, increasing energy security and resilience, and powering unelectrified tribal buildings. These investments bring our nation closer to the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal to enhance tribal energy sovereignty and reduce energy costs for American families as we head towards a clean energy future.
“These selected projects reflect DOE’s commitment to meet the climate crisis head on and guarantee tribal communities have access to electricity and clean energy technology,” said Energy Secretary Jennifer M. Granholm. “These crucial investments support President Biden’s goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 while ensuring American Indian and Alaska Native communities, many of whom are facing the most dire consequences of climate change, will directly benefit from these investments, resulting in stronger, more resilient tribal nations.”
These projects are estimated to result in more than nine megawatts of new clean energy generation and more than 6,700 megawatt-hours of battery storage, impact 1,000 tribal buildings, and save these communities more than $100 million over the life of the systems. This investment will yield tangible benefits year after year to improve the quality of life for these underserved communities.
These cost-shared clean energy projects, valued in total at more than $49 million, are the result of two competitive funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) released November 1, 2022, one for the deployment of clean energy technology and one to power unelectrified tribal buildings. Through these FOAs and these selected projects, the Office of Indian Energy continues its efforts to strengthen tribal energy and economic infrastructure, resource development, and electrification on tribal lands.
Between FY 2010 and FY 2022, DOE invested over $120 million in more than 210 tribal energy projects implemented across the contiguous 48 United States and Alaska. Through these grants, the Office of Indian Energy continues its efforts, in partnership with Native communities, to maximize the deployment of clean energy solutions for the benefit of American Indians and Alaska Natives. See the Office of Indian Energy website for a map and summaries of these competitively funded projects.
The projects competitively selected for negotiation of award are as follows:
- Alaska Village Electric Cooperative/Shaktoolik IRA Renewable Energy Joint Venture (Anchorage, AK): The project will install a grid-forming inverter, battery energy storage system (BESS), controls, and a wind-to-heat system to the village’s existing diesel-wind microgrid and wind-to-heat systems. The completed system is estimated to result in 2,200 hours of “diesels-off” operation annually, increased use of wind turbine-generated power by 80%, $99,440 savings in reduced diesel fuel use, $6,160 savings in reduced maintenance and operations costs, improved power quality, and enabled use of an existing wind-to-heat system. (Award Amount: $857,570)
- Atmautluak Tribal Utilities (Atmautluak, AK): The project will install, integrate, and commission a BESS and 30 electric thermal storage units into Atmautluak’s existing wind-diesel power system. The project is expected to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, save the utility more than $230,000 annually, and save households another $15,000 annually in home heating costs. (Award Amount: $597,371)
- Barona Group of Capitan Grande Band of Mission Indians (Lakeside, CA): The microgrid project will install 921.3 kilowatts (kW) of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems and a BESS to assure autonomous power for five tribal facilities that are essential to the health, safety, and welfare of the Barona Band of Mission Indians. The project is expected to save the Tribe an estimated $394,242 the first year and $12.1 million over the life of the system, while substantially reducing the Band’s dependence on grid-supplied energy. (Award Amount: $4,000,000)
- Colusa Indian Community Council (Colusa, CA): The project will install two solar PV arrays, totaling 872 kW. The project will result in electric bill savings in the first year of $280,935 and more than $10 million over the life of the systems, while ensuring the Tribe’s resiliency against the local utility’s constantly increasing electricity rates. (Award Amount: $1,607,813)
- Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians (Redwood Valley, CA): The project will install 2.25 megawatts (MW) of roof- and ground-mounted solar PV shade structures and offset an average of 96% of the largest energy consuming meters, including local businesses, hotel, wastewater treatment plant, convenience store, tribal gym, and other meters throughout the reservation. The project will save the Tribe $406,006 the first year and over $23 million over the life of the systems. (Award Amount: $3,200,000)
- Galena Village aka Louden Tribe (Galena, AK): This project will connect 1.2 MW of solar PV and a 1 megawatt-hour (MWh) BESS to the City of Galena’s islanded diesel electric grid. The project will provide more than 25% of the annual electric power for 186 residences and 21 tribal community facilities; create an estimated eight seasonal jobs during construction and support a permanent operation and maintenance position; reduce diesel fuel consumption by approximately 95,000 gallons per year and 2,374,000 gallons over the project life, saving more than $11 million; and achieve “diesels-off” operation for more than 862 hours annually. (Award Amount: $2,250,000)
- Hopi Utilities Corporation (Flagstaff, AZ): The project will deploy a remote microgrid equipped with 400 kW of solar PV, 1,500 kilowatt-hours of battery energy storage, and a microgrid controller to provide power to four remote water pumps to provide water to the villages of Upper and Lower Moenkopi. The project will save $270,000 per year and $6.75 million over the life of the system. (Award Amount: $3,599,800)
- Lummi Indian Business Council (Bellingham, WA): The project will install five microgrids to support essential governmental services in the event of an emergency. A total of 655.8 kW of solar PV is currently being installed on four of the five buildings. This project will add an additional 19.2 kW of solar PV, batteries, and control for the five buildings. Combined, these five systems will offset approximately 22% of annual electricity load, reduce electricity charges by 24% per year, and save the Tribe $88,593 in the first year and over $1.7 million over the life of the systems. (Award Amount: $2,000,000)
- Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians (Shelbyville, MI): The project will install a 69-kW solar PV array at the Tribe’s Jijak property located in Hopkins, Michigan. The project will provide 99% of the current electrical load of the three main buildings, cabins/bathrooms, sugar house, pow wow arena, auxiliary buildings, and other outdoor lights at the property, and save the Tribe over $312,000 over the life of the system. (Award Amount: $270,149)
- Native Village of Port Heiden (Port Heiden, AK): This project will connect 14 unelectrified tribal buildings to the community electric grid in Port Heiden, Alaska. The buildings include the fish processing plant, vocational education center, food bank, tribal airport terminal, Meshik Farm facilities, and other housing and storage facilities. The project will increase local food production, improve and expand access to locally grown and harvested foods, increase educational space, increase tourism, increase occupiable housing, and generate local employment and revenue to the Tribe. (Award Amount: $919,897)
- Nuvista Light & Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Kwethluk, AK): This project will integrate a 250-kW solar PV array into the existing Kwethluk wind-diesel-battery community power system and increase surplus power for electric thermal storage systems to heat homes. The addition of the solar PV array will save $82,800 annually, over $2 million over the life of the system, and bring the village one step closer towards its goal to reduce dependency on fossil fuels by 50% by 2030. (Award Amount: $1,553,738)
- Oglala Lakota Housing Authority (Pine Ridge, SD): The Oglala Omaste Nunpa Solar Project will install 150.5 kW of solar PV to power 28 low-income homes and buildings on the Pine Ridge Reservation. The project will save the Tribe and residents $19,790 a year on energy costs and a total of $445,268 over the life of those systems. (Award Amount: $597,654)
- Oneida Indian Nation (Verona, NY): The project will upgrade the Tribe’s co-generation unit and install efficient lighting at their resort, thereby reducing the amount of power purchased by the Tribe and saving nearly $1.3 million over the life of those systems. (Award Amount: $549,524)
- San Carlos Apache Tribe (San Carlos, AZ): The project will add 750 kW of solar PV and a 500-kW BESS to its diesel generators to serve 36 residential buildings for healthcare workers and five hospital buildings at the San Carlos Apache Healthcare Corporation community just to the east of Peridot, Arizona. The project will save nearly $4 million over the life of the microgrid and ensure continued hospital operations during power outages. (Award Amount: $4,000,000)
- Standing Rock Sioux Tribe (Fort Yates, ND): The project will install a 1.7-MW community wind turbine to meet 85% of the Prairie Knights Resort annual load. This project will save the Tribe more than $15 million over the life of the system with those savings distributed to tribal elders and other disadvantaged tribal members. In addition to providing clean, low-cost energy to tribal members, the project will also provide training and short- and long-term jobs for tribal members. (Award Amount: $4,000,000)
- The Navajo Nation Tribal Government – Ojo Encino Chapter (Ojo Encino, NM): The project will install 50 grid-tied solar PV systems totaling 250 kW on residential homes in the Ojo Encino Chapter—located in the eastern portion of the Navajo Nation in northwest New Mexico—to offset from 75% to 95% of the residents’ electric utility bills, collectively saving those tribal members $2 million over the life of the systems. (Award Amount: $1,771,828)
- Tule River Economic Development Corporation (Porterville, CA): The project will install 521.2 kW of solar PV for four tribal commercial facilities to offset 98% of the annual power consumed by these buildings. The project will save the Tribe nearly $6.6 million over the life of the systems. (Award Amount: $1,553,214)
- Yakama Nation Housing Authority (Wapato, WA): The Wishram Gorge View Country Loop Project will install 218 kW of solar PV on 46 newly built homes on the Yakama Nation Reservation in Washington. The systems will save the low-income Wishram residents an average of $29,256 per year on energy bills. (Award Amount: $1,011,105)
Selection for award negotiations is not a commitment by DOE to issue an award or provide funding. Before funding is issued, DOE and the applicants will undergo a negotiation process, and DOE may cancel negotiations and rescind the selection for any reason during that time.