In support of the Obama Administration’s ongoing commitment to strengthening partnerships with tribal nations and advancing tribal energy and economic development, the Energy Department today announced up to $6 million to deploy energy efficiency and clean energy on Indian land.

Tribal lands comprise nearly two percent of U.S. land, but contain about five percent of all the country’s renewable energy resources. With more than 9 million megawatts of potential installed renewable energy capacity on tribal lands, these tribal communities are well positioned to capitalize on their energy resources for local economic growth. Yet ready access to electricity is still considered a luxury in many tribal communities, with as many as 15,000 Navajo homes (about 30%) still lacking electricity and more than 175 remote Alaska village populations relying almost exclusively on diesel fuel for electricity generation and heating oil for heat. In some rural Alaska communities, electricity costs exceed $1.00/kilowatt-hour (kWh)—more than 8 times the national average of $0.12/kWh. Energy is integral to real and sustainable solutions to improving the quality of life in tribal communities and closing the gaps that continue to exist between American Indian and Alaska Native populations and the rest of the country.

Through this Funding Opportunity Announcement, the Office of Indian Energy will continue its efforts to maximize the development and deployment of energy solutions for the benefit of American Indians and Alaska Natives and help build the knowledge, skills, and resources needed to implement those energy solutions. Through funding provided by DOE’s Indian energy programs between 2002 and 2016, DOE invested nearly $66.5 million in more than 200 tribal energy projects implemented across the contiguous 48 states and Alaska. DOE’s investments in these projects, valued at over $126 million, were leveraged by nearly $60 million in recipient cost share. See the Office of Indian Energy website for a map and summaries of these competitively funded projects.

To build on this momentum and maximize the return on past investments, the Office of Indian Energy is soliciting applications to install energy efficiency measures and deploy clean energy systems on Indian Lands.

Specifically, the Office of Indian Energy is soliciting applications from Indian Tribes including Alaska Native Regional Corporations and Village Corporations, and Tribal Energy Resource Development Organizations to:

  1. Install energy efficiency measures and clean energy systems on tribal buildings (Topic Area 1) through:
    a.Deep energy retrofits (Topic Area 1.a.), or
    b.Energy efficiency measures and clean energy systems (Topic Area 1.b.),

  2. Deploy clean energy systems on a community-scale (Topic Area 2).

In this instance, an eligible “Indian Tribe” (including Alaska Native villages) must be federally recognized as listed in Indian Entities Recognized and Eligible to Receive Services from the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs. Applications may also be submitted on behalf of an Indian Tribe(s) by an authorized Tribal Organization or Inter-Tribal Organization, provided evidence of that authority is provided as part of the application.

Under Topic Area 1, DOE is seeking applications for the installation in tribal buildings of (a) deep energy retrofits (multiple energy efficiency measures) to meet at least a 15% reduction in the total of all energy and fuel sources used; and (b) energy efficiency measures and clean energy systems (renewable energy power systems or combined heat and power systems) of at least 10kW or equivalent for heating and/or cooling to meet at least a 20% reduction in the total of all energy and fuel sources used. Under Topic Area 2, DOE is soliciting applications for the deployment on a community-scale of at least 250 kW (or equivalent for heating and/or cooling) of clean energy systems on Indian lands to provide electricity and/or heating or cooling to many buildings or to an entire tribal community. Any technology proposed must be commercially-proven and warrantied, and the projects proposed under Topic Area 1 must be based on a prior energy audit or industrial energy assessment.

The intended results of the 50% cost shared projects selected under this Funding Opportunity Announcement are immediate cost savings, reduced energy use, and increased energy security for Indian Tribes, Alaskan Native villages, and tribal members. 

The full Funding Opportunity Announcement is available online on EERE Exchange. Applications are due Feb. 7, 2017. 

An informational webinar was held Dec. 1, 2016, to provide potential applicants with information on the FOA. In addition to describing the FOA in detail, presenters discussed who is eligible to apply, what an application needs to include, cost share and other requirements, how to ask questions, and how applications will be selected for funding. View the webinar video and presentation.