Department of Energy to Focus on Tribal Critical Infrastructure

The Department of Energy has announced their intention to issue a funding opportunity announcement (FOA) entitled Energy Infrastructure Development on Indian Lands-2020. The goal is to bring critical energy infrastructure to Native American lands that lack access to reliable electricity.

According to the announcement, the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Indian Energy intends to solicit applications from Indian tribes, which include Alaska Native Regional Corporations and Village Corporations, Intertribal Organizations, and Tribal Energy Development Organizations.

The FOA intends to:

  • Install energy generating system(s) and/or energy efficiency measure(s) for tribal building(s); or,
  • Deploy community-scale energy generating system(s) or energy storage on Tribal Lands; or,
  • Install integrated energy system(s) for autonomous operation (independent of the traditional centralized electric power grid) to power a single or multiple essential tribal facilities during emergency situations or for tribal community resilience; or,
  • Deploy energy infrastructure or integrated energy system(s) to electrify tribal buildings.

“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,” said Mark W. Menezes, Under Secretary of Energy.

According to NextGov, the DOE has already supported more than 100 energy related projects for Native communities over the last decade. Tribal lands make up an estimated 2% of the U.S.’s landmass and represent an estimated 5% of the nation’s total potential for renewable energy generation. Still, many Native Americans face concerns about the security of their energy infrastructure.

Under the FOA, a 50% recipient cost share of the total project costs is required and must come from non-federal sources.

The department has also reported that they “envision” multiple financial rewards in the form of grants. The estimated period of performance for each award will be approximately one to two years, but no longer than three years including a 12-month mandatory verification period.

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