Tribal communities receive $72 million to build clean energy infrastructure

The Department of the Interior (DOI) will deliver $72 million to connect 21 Tribal communities with zero-emissions electricity.

The funding comes from the Office of Indian Affairs’ (OIA) Tribal Electrification Program’s (TEP) as part of a first round of awards investing in clean energy sources and achieving a carbon pollution-free electricity sector by 2035. The DOI expects to announce the second round of funding availability in spring 2024.

The TEP will use $145.5 million from the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) to increase the number of Tribal homes with access to renewable energy sources. The funds will help support Tribal communities with clean energy transmission and distribution, transition homes to zero-emissions energy systems and repair and retrofit homes for system installation.

“As we implement this new and innovative program, we will continue to support Tribal communities as they work to develop their electricity infrastructure and help meet our shared clean energy goals,” said Secretary Deb Haaland.

Notable projects that received funding include:

The Pueblo of Santa Ana, New Mexico, received $14.5 million to develop a community solar project that will generate nearly 12.6 million kilowatt hours (kWh) per year. The project will provide approximately 1,813 homes with zero-emissions electricity. In addition, the Tribe will export electricity to the Public Service Company on New Mexico (PNM) for credits to reduce or eliminate Tribal electric bills.

The Navajo Tribal Utility Authority – located across Arizona, New Mexico and Utah – will use $10 million to provide electricity to 400 homes. The electricity will help around 2,400 residents light their homes, power their devices and ensure food and medicines are properly stored.

The Tanana Chiefs Conference in Alaska will leverage $9.9 million to build high-penetration solar photovoltaic and battery storage systems. These systems will offset 100% of residential electricity usage, improve grid resiliency and significantly reduce greenhouse gas emission.

Tribal communities have a significant need for clean, reliable energy. The Department of Energy Office of Indian Energy released a 2022 report stating that almost 17,000 Tribal homes did not have access to electricity.

Photo by Nuno Marques on Unsplash

Government Market News Staff

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