The US Department of Energy has announced $9 million in funding to help native Americans and Alaska native communities to upgrade their energy infrastructure.
The funding is being issued through the Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programmes.
In February, the office released $11.5 million towards grid upgrades in the native lands.
US Secretary Ricky Perry, said: “This funding opportunity was the first time the Office of Indian Energy has solicited fuel- and technology-neutral projects, which expands the potential for tribes to utilise the particular resources they have available on their lands.”
Tribal lands constitute only 2% of US land, comprises 5% of the country's renewable energy resources, 30% of coal reserves west of Mississippi, 50% of uranium reserves and 20% of known oil and gas reserves. 86% of the land with energy potential remains underdeveloped.
The funding will be used to develop new energy generation resources, automate grid operations and implement energy efficiency measures to reduce or stabilise energy costs, as well as increase energy security and resilience.
The Coeur d’Alene Tribe will install energy efficiency measures and deploy a solar PV system for its senior housing complex.
The project is expected to reduce annual energy use by 87% from 114,000kWh to 99,420kWh/year.
The savings are equivalent to reducing energy costs by $7,600 per year.
The news follows the Office of Indian Energy releasing the Tribal Energy Atlas—a first-of-its-kind interactive geospatial application, which tribal energy project planners, technicians and investors use to analyse installed energy infrastructure and resource potential.
The map was developed in partnership with the DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory.