WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced more than $16 million in funding for 14 tribal energy infrastructure projects through DOE’s Office of Indian Energy. This investment will help Native American and Alaska Native communities harness their vast energy resources in order to reduce or stabilize energy costs, as well as increase their energy security and resilience.
In addition to the $16 million in funding provided by DOE, approximately $23 million will be cost-shared by tribal communities. These projects, valued in total at up to $39 million, are the result of a competitive funding opportunity announcement (FOA) announced March 11, 2019.
“The tribal energy infrastructure projects announced today are another example of cross-cutting energy efforts being deployed by DOE, in partnership with tribal communities, to provide affordable and reliable energy across the country,” said U.S. Under Secretary of Energy Mark W. Menezes. “These projects will unleash sovereign Native American and Alaska Native energy development however each tribe believes is best for their community.”
“The selected projects are consistent with the principles of tribal sovereignty and self-determination, with a fuel- and technology- neutral energy strategy that recognizes the breadth of energy resources on tribal lands, and each tribe’s right to use them as they see fit,” said Office of Indian Energy Director Kevin R. Frost. “Combined, these projects add up to over 13 megawatts of installed generation that will impact over 900 tribal buildings, with combined annual savings of approximately $7.5 million—significant investments that will yield tangible results to improve the quality of life for these communities.”
Through these grants, the DOE Office of Indian Energy will continue its efforts to maximize the deployment of energy solutions in consultation with American Indians and Alaska Natives. Specifically, the projects will install energy systems for tribal buildings and to provide autonomous operation for increased community resilience.
The projects competitively selected for negotiation of award are as follows:
|#||Selectee and Location||Project Description||Total Award Value*|
|1||Aha Macav Power Service (AMPS), Mohave Valley, AZ||As authorized by the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe, AMPS will develop a new solar photovoltaic (PV) array with 6,309 375-watt modules that will deliver 2.3 megawatts (MW) of sustainable power to supply 10% of electricity demand for AMPS’ 1,000 customers. The project will help the Tribe move toward its goal of energy independence and is expected to save $6.1 million over the life of the project.||$4,000,000 (Requested DOE Funds: $2,000,000; Proposed Cost Share: $2,000,000)|
|2||Assiniboine & Sioux Tribes of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation, Poplar, MT||The Fort Peck Tribes are constructing a 50,039-square-foot wellness center and will design the building with seven energy efficiency measures and a 72-78 kilowatt (kW) roof-mounted PV system to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and reduce energy bills for the benefit of tribal members. The project is expected to reduce utility bills by 29.04% and save approximately $31,561 per year, with estimated savings of $631,220 over 20 years.||$626,812 (Requested DOE Funds: $313,406; Proposed Cost Share: $313,406)|
|3||Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians, Odanah, WI||The Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians will install solar PV at three tribal buildings. Two of the installations will be equipped with battery energy storage systems and “smart” controls capable of operating independent of the grid. The systems are expected to offset 100% of annual electric usage at two of the buildings and are estimated to reduce electric bills by approximately $841,000 over 25 years.||$1,998,199 (Requested DOE Funds: $999.099; Proposed Cost Share: $999,100)|
|4||Colusa Indian Community Council, Colusa, CA||This project will expand the tribal-owned electrical distribution and battery-storage based uninterruptible power supply (UPS) to provide highly reliable electrical service to more than 37 essential tribal facilities and build capacity for future expansion. The project will add a 4-MW UPS with 15 minutes of battery backup at full capacity and expand existing medium-voltage distribution to 33 households, a daycare, a mechanical shop, irrigation pumps, and a sewer lift station, which currently receive electric service from the local electric utility. Expected cost savings over the life of the project are more than $9 million.||$7,107,385 (Requested DOE Funds: $2,000,000; Proposed Cost Share: $5,107,385)|
|5||Colusa Indian Community Economic Development Corporation, Colusa, CA||This project will develop a parking-lot canopy solar PV system consisting of four canopy structures and 448 kW of solar PV that will interconnect to the existing tribal-owned medium-voltage microgrid generation system and supply power to 10 tribal buildings. The PV system will offset energy usage from more expensive existing sources and is expected to save more than $5.6 million over the life of the project, along with offsetting approximately 6.6% of existing usage on the microgrid generation system.||$2,299,496
(Requested DOE Funds: $1,149,748; Proposed Cost Share: $1,149,748)
|6||Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe, Flandreau, SD||The Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe is embarking on a path of improved energy stewardship and self-reliance and has made significant investments in energy efficiency. The Tribe will now take the first steps toward deploying energy generating systems to save money and increase clean energy production by installing 318 kW of solar PV on 11 sites located on tribal lands, which will reduce retail electrical consumption by 30% (470 megawatt-hours [MWh]) annually. The project is expected to save $48,288 in retail energy expenditures in the first year and approximately $1.1 million over the 25-year project life.||$769,576 (Requested DOE Funds: $384,768; Proposed Cost Share: $384,768)|
|7||Forest County Potawatomi Community, Crandon, WI||The Forest County Potawatomi Community will install and operate 1,068 kW of solar PV at eight tribal facilities in Milwaukee, WI, and on the Tribe’s reservation lands. The individual installations will range in size from 8 kW to 280 kW and will displace between 4.2% and 99.9% of total current energy usage from those buildings, with expected annual savings of $105,996.||$2,155,758 (Requested DOE Funds: $1,077,879; Proposed Cost Share: $1,077,879)|
|8||Forest County Potawatomi Community, Crandon, WI||The Forest County Potawatomi Community will install eight energy efficiency measures and a 200-kW solar PV system on its new community center. The project will benefit the Tribe by reducing the new community center’s natural gas needs by 42.1% and its grid electricity needs by 16.5%, which is expected to save an average of $111,109 annually over a 30-year period.||$1,162,860 (Requested DOE Funds: $581,430; Proposed Cost Share: $581,430)|
|9||Igiugig Village Council (IVC), Igiugig, AK||IVC will acquire and install a second 35-kW marine renewable energy device in the Kvichak River, along with smart microgrid electronics and energy storage, to provide autonomous operation of the microgrid to power all Village facilities for sustainable energy supply and resilient operations. Based on IVC’s existing generation at 12.14 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per gallon of diesel, the corresponding annual fuel displacement of the power from this installation will be approximately 11,000 gallons per year. The anticipated avoided cost of diesel generation is between $68,000 and $88,000 per year for 20 years.||$3,033,584 (Requested DOE Funds: $1,516,792; Proposed Cost Share: $1,516,792)|
|10||Northern Cheyenne Tribe, Lame Deer, MT||Under the White River Community Solar Project, the Northern Cheyenne Tribe will install 2.6 MW of solar PV on two parcels of undeveloped land, plus 400 kW to provide behind-the-meter solar electricity to three tribal facilities. The project is estimated to generate $5 million of combined annual energy savings and revenue for the life of the system, offset 80% of electricity usage in critical community buildings, and substantially reduce the Tribe’s carbon footprint.||$4,000,000 (Requested DOE Funds: $2,000,000; Proposed Cost Share: $2,000,000)|
|11||Nuvista Kwethluk Energy Storage, Anchorage, AK||A joint venture between Kwethluk, Inc., the Organized Village of Kwethluk, and Nuvista Light & Electric Cooperative, Inc., this project will install a 500-kW/670-kWh battery energy storage system that will be integrated into the Kwethluk wind-diesel system. When fully charged, the system will be able to meet the peak load of the entire community at a rate of more than 500 kW for more than 1 hour or over 2.5 hours of restricted emergency power at the current average community load of 180 kW. Estimated annual savings from the battery are approximately $68,000, with a potential lifetime value of $1,170,000.||$892,562 (Requested DOE Funds: $446,281; Proposed Cost Share: $446,281)|
|12||Oneida Indian Nation, Oneida, NY||The Oneida Indian Nation will build upon a previously conducted energy audit of tribal buildings to implement energy efficiency measures in 27 facilities. The project is expected to save more than $450,000 annually and reduce more than 4 million kWh and 50,000 therms of energy usage per year. It is also expected to reduce the Nation’s annual greenhouse gas emissions by more than 3,000 metric tons.||$2,036,714 (Requested DOE Funds: $1,000,000; Proposed Cost Share: $1,036,714)|
|13||Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians, Valley Center, CA||This project will develop two separate sustainable energy microgrids, both centrally located on the Rincon Indian Reservation, and each capable of autonomous operation. The two microgrids will integrate approximately 3,100 kW of solar PV capacity with 2,450 kW of battery energy storage capacity and 2,920 kW of diesel-fueled standby generation to maintain resilient energy service and displace grid-delivered power. The microgrids will provide resilient energy for a large portion of the Rincon community’s essential facilities and services, including fire protection, emergency management, public sheltering, fuel supplies, and water and wastewater treatment systems. The project is expected to save nearly $500,000 per year, and more than $9.2 million over 25 years.||$7,268,002 (Requested DOE Funds: $2,000,000; Proposed Cost Share: $5,268,002)|
|14||Togiak Natives Limited, Togiak, AK||This heat recovery project will use excess heat from the existing power plant to heat three end-user tribal community buildings. Currently these buildings are heated by oil boilers, which use a total 13,691 gallons of diesel heating oil per year. The heat recovery system is expected to offset 100% of the heating oil required by the end-user buildings, thereby saving an estimated $77,080 per year or over $2.3 million over the life of the project.||$1,276,106 (Requested DOE Funds: $638,053; Proposed Cost Share: $638,053)|
* Amounts shown are subject to negotiation.
To learn about DOE’s recent investments in tribal communities, visit the Office of Indian Energy’s project successes page.