An Unprecedented Opportunity to Spur Tribal Energy Efficiency Projects

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) is a once-in-a-generation investment in our nation's infrastructure, competitiveness, and communities. BIL will turbocharge clean energy deployment by funding state and local programs and projects that increase access to energy efficiency to save money for American families, businesses, and communities, help achieve our clean energy goals and accelerate job growth.

BIL provides more than $62 billion to stand up 60 new U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) programs, including 16 demonstration and 32 deployment programs and expands funding for 12 existing research, development, demonstration, and deployment (RDD&D) programs.

The White House released a Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Tribal Playbook to help tribal governments unlock the benefits from the historic investments in our nation's infrastructure, including the more than $13 billion set aside in for Indian Country.

The following BIL programs provide potential funding opportunities for tribal communities:

Tribal Formula Grants

Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant

BIL funds a $550 million investment in a new grant program at the Department of Energy for the state, local, and Tribal governments to reduce their fossil fuel footprint and bolster conservation efforts. Funds can go toward a wide array of uses energy-efficient uses, ranging from standing up inspection services for energy efficiency certification to funding methane capture projects to installing renewable energy technology. The program sets aside 2% of funds—or $11 million—exclusively for Tribal applicants.

Electric Grid Resilience Programs

The BIL provides funding under several programs for enhancing the resilience of the electrical grid and reducing outages. It allocates $459 million annually via formula, over a period of five years, to states and Tribes.

 

Competitive Grants

Battery Manufacturing and Recycling Grants and Battery Material Processing Grants

BIL apportions $3 billion each to two grant programs that promote the manufacturing, processing, and recycling of batteries. In both grant programs, the law directs the Secretary of Energy to prioritize applicants who partner with Tribes and in the initial funding opportunity announcement, the Department of Energy is scoring applicants based on partnering with minority-owned businesses, including Tribes.

Grants for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Improvements at Public Schools

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is launching a $500 million grant program for K-12 public school energy upgrades, with a priority for rural or high-poverty schools. The program will help deliver cleaner and healthier classrooms, libraries, cafeterias, playgrounds, and gyms where over three million teachers teach and 50 million students learn, eat, and build friendships every day. Energy upgrades to America’s public schools, including leveraging renewable power sources and electric school buses, will bring the nation closer to President Biden's goal to build a net-zero economy by 2050.

Building a Better Grid Initiative

Under the Building a Better Grid Initiative, DOE will identify critical national transmission needs and support the buildout of long-distance, high-voltage transmission facilities that meet those needs through collaborative transmission planning, innovative financing mechanisms, coordinated permitting, and continued transmission related research and development. DOE commits to robust engagement on energy justice and collaboration, including with states, American Indian Tribes and Alaska Natives, industry, unions, local communities, and other stakeholders for successful implementation of the program.

Program Upgrading Our Electric Grid and Ensuring Reliability and Resiliency

BIL allocates $5 billion that will provide federal financial assistance to demonstrate innovative approaches to transmission, storage, and distribution infrastructure to harden and enhance resilience and reliability; and demonstrate new approaches to enhance grid resilience.

Recipients include states, combination of two or more states, Indian tribes, units of local government, and/or public utility commissions.

Energy Improvement in Rural and Remote Areas

BIL allocates $1 billion to provide financial assistance to increase environmental protection from the impacts of energy use and improve resilience, reliability, safety, and availability of energy in rural or remote areas of the United States. Uses: (A) Overall cost-effectiveness of energy generation, transmission, or distribution systems; (B) siting or upgrading transmission and distribution lines; (C) reducing greenhouse gas emissions from energy generation by rural or remote areas; (D) providing or modernizing electric generation facilities; (E) developing microgrids; and (F) increasing energy efficiency.

Recipients: Cities, towns, or unincorporated areas with populations of not more than 10,000 inhabitants.

Rural and Municipal Utility Advanced Cybersecurity Grant and Technical Assistance Program

BIL allocates $250 million to provide grant awards for technical assistance to eligible entities to protect against and recover from cybersecurity threats. Tribal Eligibility/Impact: Indirect and Direct – eligible if the Tribal utility qualifies as a "rural electric cooperative" or an investor-owned utility that sells less than 4 million megawatt-hours of electricity per year.

Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs

BIL allocates $8 billion to support the development of at least four regional clean hydrogen hubs to improve clean hydrogen production, processing, delivery, storage, and end use and can be developed into a national clean hydrogen network. Recipients: technology developers, industry, utilities, universities, national laboratories, engineering and construction firms, State and Local governments, tribal governments, environmental groups, and community-based organizations.

Clean Hydrogen Manufacturing Recycling Research, Development, and Demonstration Program

BIL allocates $500 million to provide federal financial assistance to advance new clean hydrogen production, processing, delivery, storage, and use of equipment manufacturing technologies and techniques. Priority is given to projects that operate in partnership with tribal energy development organizations, Indian tribes, tribal organizations, Native Hawaiian community-based organizations, or territories or freely associated states or are located in economically distressed areas of major natural gas producing regions of the United States.

Pumped Storage Hydropower Wind and Solar Integration and System Reliability Initiative 

BIL allocates $10 million in assistance in developing pumped storage hydropower facilities that facilitate the long-duration storage of intermittent renewable energy.

Eligible entities include Indian tribes or tribal organizations and projects are required to store electricity generated by renewable energy projects located on Tribal land.

Cost-Effective Codes Implementation for Efficiency and Resilience

BIL allocates $225 million in grants to eligible entities to enable sustained cost-effective implementation of updated building energy codes.

Recipients: State agency, state building code agency, state energy office, or tribal energy office.

Building, Training, and Assessment Centers

BIL allocates $10 million in grants to institutions of higher education and Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) to establish building training and assessment centers (co-located with industrial research and assessment centers) to (1) optimize energy efficiency and environmental performance in buildings; (2) promote the application of emerging concepts and technologies in commercial and institutional buildings; (3) train in energy-efficient design and operation engineers, architects, building scientists and technicians, and building energy permitting and enforcement officials; (4) promote R&D for use of alternative energy sources and distributed generation to supply heat and power for buildings; and (5) coordinate with and assist State-accredited assessment centers.

Energy Storage Demonstration Pilot Grant Program

BIL allocates $355 million to enter into agreements to carry out three energy storage system demonstration projects.

Recipients: Technology developers, industry, state and local governments, tribal organizations, community-based organizations, national laboratories, universities, and utilities.

Long-Duration Demonstration Initiative and Joint Program

BIL allocates $150 million to establish a demonstration initiative composed of demonstration projects focused on the development of long-duration energy storage technologies. Eligible uses are for projects that: (1) demonstrate promising long-duration energy storage technologies at different scales; and (2) help new, innovative long-duration energy storage technologies become commercially viable.

Recipients: Technology developers, industry, state and local governments, tribal organizations, community-based organizations, national laboratories, universities, and utilities.

Carbon Capture Large-Scale Pilot Programs

BIL allocates $937 million to establish a carbon capture technology program for the development of transformational technologies that will significantly improve the efficiency, effectiveness, costs, emissions reductions, and environmental performance of coal and natural gas use, including in manufacturing and industrial facilities.

Recipients: Technology developers, industry, utilities, universities, national laboratories, engineering and construction firms, state and local governments, tribal governments, environmental groups, and community-based organizations.

Carbon Capture Demonstration Projects Program

BIL allocates $2.5 billion to establish a carbon capture technology program for the development of six facilities to demonstrate transformational technologies that will significantly improve the efficiency, effectiveness, costs, emissions reductions, and environmental performance of coal and natural gas use, including in manufacturing and industrial facilities.

Recipients: Technology developers, industry, utilities, universities, national laboratories, engineering and construction firms, state and local governments, tribal governments, environmental groups, and community-based organizations.

Wind Energy Technology Program

BIL allocates $60 million to fund research, development, demonstration, and commercialization activities to improve wind energy technologies.

Recipients: An institution of higher education, a national laboratory, a federal research agency, a state research agency, a research agency associated with a territory or freely associated state, a tribal energy development organization, an Indian tribe; a tribal organization; a Native Hawaiian community-based organization; a nonprofit research organization; an industrial entity, as determined by the secretary; and a consortium of two or more entities.

Solar Improvement Research & Development

BIL allocates $40 million to fund research, development, demonstration, and commercialization to improve solar energy technologies. The law prioritizes projects in economically distressed areas or areas disproportionately affected by pollution, as well as those carried out in collaboration with tribal organizations, minority-serving institutions, and others.

Solar Recycling Research & Development

BIL allocates $20 million to award financial assistance to eligible entities for research, development, demonstration, and commercialization projects to create innovative and practical approaches to increase the reuse and recycling of solar energy technologies.

Recipients: an institution of higher education, a national laboratory, a federal research agency, a state research agency; a research agency associated with a territory or freely associated state, a tribal energy development organization, an Indian tribe, a tribal organization, a Native Hawaiian community-based organization, a nonprofit research organization, an industrial entity as determined by the secretary, and a consortium of two or more entities.

Advanced Solar Energy Manufacturing Initiative

BIL allocates $20 million to award financial assistance to eligible entities for research, development, demonstration, and commercialization projects to advance new solar energy manufacturing technologies and techniques.

Recipients: An institution of higher education, a national laboratory, a federal research agency, a state research agency, a research agency associated with a territory or freely associated state; a tribal energy development organization, an Indian tribe, a tribal organization, a Native Hawaiian community-based organization, a nonprofit research organization, an industrial entity as determined by the secretary, and a consortium of two or more entities.

Clean Energy Demonstration Program on Current and Former Mine Land

BIL allocates $500 million to establish a program to demonstrate the technical and economic viability of carrying out clean energy projects on current and former mine land.

Recipients: Industry partner, project developers.