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Project Development and Finance

Below are resources for Tribes on energy project development and finance.

Developing Tribal Energy Projects: Community Energy Planning
Highlights a strategic energy planning process for Tribes, including examples of how the process has helped Tribes advance their clean energy projects. Source: U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Indian Energy

Developing Tribal Energy Projects: Project Development Fundamentals
Provides an overview of the five-step tribal renewable energy project development and financing process developed by the DOE Office of Indian Energy and includes examples from Tribes that have used the process to help move their clean energy projects forward. Source: DOE Office of Indian Energy

Developing Tribal Energy Projects: Evaluating Project Potential and Options
Provides an overview of "Step 1: Project Potential" and "Step 2: Project Options" in the five-step energy project development process and highlights how completing these steps helped the Pueblo of Zuni and the Passamaquoddy Tribes of Indian Township and Pleasant Point advance their renewable energy projects. Source: DOE Office of Indian Energy

Developing Tribal Energy Projects: Selecting the Technology and Refining the Project
Provides an overview of "Project Refinement," Step 3 in the five-step energy project development process, and highlights how completing this step helped the Campo Band of the Kumeyaay Nation and the Organized Village of Kake advanced their renewable energy projects. Source: DOE Office of Indian Energy

Project Development and Finance Course Curriculum Terminology Guide
This document provides definitions for terminology and acronyms used in the professional course training curriculum developed for Tribes by the DOE Office of Indian Energy, available on the National Training & Education Resource (NTER) website. Source: DOE Office of Indian Energy.


A Guide to Community Solar: Utility, Private, and Non-Profit Project Development
A resource for community solar project development aimed at community organizers, solar advocates, government officials, and utility managers. Provides information on various community solar project models (utility-sponsored, special purpose entities, nonprofits), state policies that support community solar projects (group billing, virtual net metering, joint ownership), and tax policies and incentives. Source: DOE.

An Introduction to Geothermal Permitting
This guide tracks the geothermal permitting process through multiple levels, addressing such issues as the importance of where the geothermal resource is located, how the federal government defines geothermal, the kinds of permits needed, how states define geothermal, and which state agencies issue geothermal permits in each state. Source: Liz Battocletti, Bob Lawrence and Associates, Inc.

Federal Loan Programs for Economic and Community Development throughout Indian Country and Alaska
This document provides a list of federal loan programs available to Tribes and includes the agency name, program name, eligibility, maximum loan amount, fees, contact information, and more. Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Guide on How to Develop a Small Hydropower Plant
This guide aims to give potential developers of small hydropower plants comprehensive information and advice on all necessary procedures for developing a site and includes the key steps to be followed to run a plant. Source: The European Small Hydropower Association.

Key Aspects in Developing a Wind Power Project
Provides a brief overview of the different steps involved with developing a wind power project, including site analysis, permitting, electricity, technologies, financial aspects, and installation. Source: Vestas.

Large-Scale Renewable Energy Guide: Developing Renewable Energy Projects Larger than 10 MWs at Federal Factilities
This guide provides best practices and other helpful guidance for federal agencies developing large-scale renewable energy projects. It offers a comprehensive framework including active project management strategies, common terms, and principles that reduce project uncertainties and promote partnerships between the federal government, private developers, and financiers. Source: DOE.

The Law of Algae: A Guide to Algae Biofuels Business and Legal Issues
Includes insights and lessons learned on financing an algae biofuels project; technology issues; water, light, and land; design, engineering, and construction; commercial contracts; renewable fuel standard; and resolving disputes: preplanning. Source: Stoel Rives LLP.

The Law of Biofuels: A Guide to Business and Legal Issues
Provides insights into the legal issues faced by developers and investors in the biofuels industry, including financing; the renewable fuel standard; siting and permitting; design, engineering, and construction; commercial contracts; tax issues; and more. Source: Stoel Rives LLP.

The Law of Biomass: A Guide to Business and Legal Issues
Contains information on electricity generated from biomass sources, including determining project viability, financing, siting and permitting, tax issues, power purchase agreements, regulatory and transmission-related issues, and more. Source: Stoel Rives LLP.

The Law of Building Green: Business and Legal Issues of Sustainable Real
Insights on key topics related to green development projects, such as integrated design, assessing and allocating risks, site development, community and neighborhood development, on-site renewable energy generation, tax incentives, and more. Source: Stoel Rives LLP.

The Law of Marine and Hydrokinetic Energy: A Guide to Business and Legal Issues
Contains insights into the legal issues faced by developers and investors in the U.S. ocean and tidal energy industry, including choice of corporate structure and entity; intellectual property; siting and permitting; lease agreements; land title matters; regulatory and transmission-related issues; design, engineering, and construction; power purchase agreements; tax issues; and finance. Source: Stoel Rives LLP.

The Law of Wind
This guide contains insights into the legal issues faced by developers and investors in the U.S. wind power industry, including information specifically for Tribes such as federal land issues with siting and permitting and tribal laws and land issues. Source: Stoel Rives LLP.

Model Energy and Utility Service Code
A model tribal law for energy and utility services prepared for Kansas Tribes in a Word document that can be used by other Tribes. Source: Mni Sose Intertribal Water Rights Coalition.

Renewable Energy Development in Indian Country: A Handbook for Tribes
Comprehensive information on energy project development on Indian lands, including energy resource assessments, evaluating energy markets, transmission and interconnection issues, structuring projects to protect tribal interests, evaluating financing options, and key energy project agreements. Source: Douglas MacCourt and Ater Wynne LLP.

The Solar Way: Photovoltaics on Indian Lands
Examples of photovoltaic (PV) installations on Indian lands throughout the United States. Includes guidance on preserving cultural values during energy project development. Source: Sandia National Laboratories.

Strategies to Address Challenges to Tribal Renewable Energy Project Development
Presentation from a Western Area Power Administration webinar that covers tribal energy project development strategic planning as well as cultural, environmental, organizational, project ownership and financing considerations. Source: Navigant Consulting, Inc.

Tribal Business Structure Handbook
Reviews each tribal business entity from the perspective of sovereign immunity and legal liability, corporate formation and governance, federal tax consequences and eligibility for special financing. Covers governmental entities (e.g., instrumentalities, political subdivisions, and Section 17 corporations) as well as the more common business structures, such as corporations, partnerships, and limited liability companies. Source: DOE Office of Indian Energy

Tribal Energy Development Primer
An in-depth analysis of renewable and conventional energy (coal, oil, and natural gas) development issues on tribal lands including: infrastructure planning; assessing resources, environmental, and cultural issues; institutional best practices; assessing market potential; selecting a business structure; and evaluating financing options. Source: Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma.


Contracting for Renewable Energy Services: Update on Power Purchase Agreements
Provides general information about power purchase agreements, guidelines, and contracting procedures, as well as renewable energy contract variables, and links to additional information. Source: New Jersey Department of Community Affairs-Local Finance.

Commercial Lending in Indian Country: Potential Opportunities in an Emerging Market
Explores the commercial lending environment in Indian Country, including the interrelationship of governmental, legal, institutional, organizational, and financial infrastructures. The report examines the major challenges and constraints that have impeded larger scale efforts and describes banking and tribal community responses to these barriers considered critical to successful implementation of commercial lending activities. Source: U.S. Department of the Treasury.

Federal Finance Facilities Available for Energy Efficiency Upgrades and Clean Energy Deployment
Provides a snapshot of the federal finance facilities available for energy efficiency upgrades and clean energy deployment to make it easier for state, local, and tribal leaders, along with their partners in the private sector, to find capital for energy efficiency and clean energy projects. For every facility listed, the guide identifies a single point of contact who can answer your questions and provide additional support. Source: DOE, USDA, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), U.S. Department of Treasury, and U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

Financing Opportunities for Renewable Energy Development in Alaska
Provides an overview of existing and potential financing structures for renewable energy project development in Alaska with a focus on four primary sources of project funding: government financed or supported, developer equity capital, commercial debt, and third-party tax-equity investment. Source: DOE Office of Indian Energy and National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

Financing Community-Scale Clean Energy Projects: Lessons from Project Developers in the Northwest
Investigates the challenges developers face in getting clean energy projects financed and provides information on the unique structures, costs, and processes for financing community-scale projects, identifies key challenges and weaknesses in financing, and highlights how developers have creatively financed community-scale projects. Source: Northwest SEED and Cake Ventures, Inc.

Financing Geothermal Power Projects
This National Renewable Energy Laboratory website provides information for geothermal power project developers and investors interested in financing utility-scale geothermal power projects. It features information on policies and regulations, financing options, and planning and timing considerations.

Financing Non-Residential Photovoltaic Projects: Options and Implications
PV project finance options for both taxable and tax-exempt non-residential system hosts. Also addresses the impact of financing structures on the cost of solar energy. Source: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LNBL).

Financing Public Sector Projects with Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (CREBs)
Fact sheet on Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (CREBs), which present a low-cost opportunity for public entities to issue bonds to finance renewable energy projects. Source: National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

Geothermal Money Book
Explains the specific criteria potential financing sources use to evaluate a proposal for debt financing and identifies federal and state incentives that are relevant to direct use and small-scale power generation geothermal projects. Source: Liz Battocletti, Bob Lawrence & Associates, Inc.

Geothermal Small Business Workbook
Provides background, market, and regulatory data for direct use and small-scale (< 1 megawatt) power generation geothermal projects; sources of useful information; steps to writing a business plan; the step-by-step process to structure a business and financing plan for a small geothermal project; and information on how to develop a financing plan. Source: Liz Battocletti, Bob Lawrence & Associates, Inc.

Guide to Federal Financing Facilities for Clean Energy Deployment
Lists the various federal financing programs for which energy efficiency and clean energy qualify to make it easier for state, local, and tribal leaders, along with their partners in the private sector, to find capital for energy efficiency and clean energy projects. Sources: USDA, DOE, HUD, EPA.

Guidebook of Financial Tools: Paying for Environmental Systems
Comprehensive guide to financing environmental (including energy) projects: bonds, loans, grants, credit enhancement, public-private partnerships, and local finance mechanisms. Source: EPA.

Guidebook to Geothermal Power Finance
Provides an overview of the strategies used to raise capital for geothermal power projects that use conventional, proven technologies, are located in the United States, and produce utility power (roughly 10 megawatts or more). Source: NREL.

Harnessing Nature's Power: Deploying and Financing On-Site Renewable Energy
Renewable energy deployment strategies for private and public entities. Covers assessing a site’s resource potential, incentives supporting renewable energy deployment, options for deploying renewable energy systems, and the risks associated with project development. Source: World Resources Institute.

The Impact of Financial Structure on the Cost of Solar Energy
Describes four of the most prevalent financial structures used by the renewable sector and evaluates the impact of financial structure on energy costs for utility-scale solar projects that use photovoltaic and concentrating solar power technologies. Source: NREL.

Innovations in Voluntary Renewable Energy Procurement: Methods for Expanding Access and Lowering Cost for Communities, Governments, and Businesses
This guide explores five innovative options for voluntarily procuring renewable energy generation or systems that can help lower costs and simplify transactions. The methods can be replicated by a variety of stakeholders, including local governments, not-for-profit organizations, businesses, and utilities. Source: NREL.

Lex Helius: The Law of Solar Energy: A Guide to Business and Legal Issues
A guide to the legal and financial issues surrounding solar energy project deployment including: property rights; power purchase agreements for both distributed generation projects and utility-scale projects; solar energy system design, engineering, construction, and installation agreements; regulatory and transmission-related issues; permitting; tax issues; and tribal legal and land issues. Source: Stoel Rives LLP.

Project Financing Glossary
Provides definitions for common energy project financing terms. Source: DOE Office of Indian Energy.

Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds (“QECBs”) and New Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (“New CREBs”)
Presentation on Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds (QECBs) and New Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (New CREBs) volume allocation, bond mechanics and other considerations, qualified uses and procedures, and market perspectives. Source: DOE.

Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Transparent Cost Database
Public database featuring cost and performance estimates for electric generation, advanced vehicle, and renewable fuel technologies. Makes it much easier to view the range of estimates for what energy technologies, such as a utility-scale wind farm, rooftop solar installation, biofuel production plant, or an electric vehicle, might cost today or in the future. Source: DOE.

The Report of the Native American Lending Study
The Native American Lending Study examines the access to capital and financial services on Indian lands and Hawaiian Home Lands, identifying the barriers to access and providing options to address these barriers. Source: U.S. Department of Treasury.

Revolving Loan Funds
Provides general information on the basic structure of a revolving loan fund (RLF), steps to setting up RLFs, common issues, and examples. Source: NREL.

Solar Photovoltaic Financing: Deployment on Public Property by State and Local Government
Describes financing options for state and local governments, including several federal incentives and third-party financing models. Also addresses project insurance options. Source: NREL.

Structuring Loan Loss Reserve Funds for Clean Energy Finance Programs
Presentation on loan loss reserve funds that includes specific examples, loan loss reserve structure, potential impacts on underwriting criteria, structure and terms of loans, risk-sharing formula, key terms, and lessons learned and challenges. Source: Energy Efficiency Finance Corp.

Tribal Economic Development Bonds Guidelines
Guidelines that help clarify application requirements, including advice on how to complete applications, for $1.8 billion in Department of Treasury Tribal Economic Development Bonds (TEDB). Source: Department of Treasury.

Tribal Energy Project Development through ESCOs
Presentation from a Tribal Energy Program webinar that includes information on Energy Service Company (ESCO) basics, history, business models/approaches, challenges in Indian Country, project examples, and how to get started. Source: NREL.

Wind Project Financing Structures: A Review and Comparative Analysis
Describes the principal financing structures for utility-scale wind projects (excluding utility-owned projects): balance-sheet finance, all-equity partnership "flip" structures, and leveraged structures. Source: LBNL.