Tribal Energy Project Funding History

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The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) funds a wide variety of renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in an effort to assist tribes in realizing their energy visions. From 2002 to 2016, DOE awarded a total of $66.5 million to fund 217 tribal energy projects valued at more than $126 million. During that same period, tribes contributed a total of $59.7 million in cost sharing to advance their energy projects. (Note: Per statute, only development and deployment type awards have required cost share [50% or 100% match]). Data on DOE tribal energy project awards by type and funding history is provided below.

Tribal Energy Project Funding History by Fiscal Year

Click on a year below to learn more about projects during that fiscal year (FY).

2016

In FY 2015, DOE solicited applications for financial assistance from Indian tribes (including Alaska Native regional corporations, village corporations, tribal consortia, and tribal organizations) and tribal energy resource development organizations to deploy facility-scale clean energy and energy efficiency projects and community-scale clean energy projects on Indian lands. A total of 14 deployment projects were awarded in FY 2016.

In the second quarter of FY 2016, DOE solicited applications from inter-tribal organizations and Alaska Native regional corporations to pilot a Technical Assistance Energy Providers Network; a total of 8 planning projects were awarded in FY 2016.  

In the fourth quarter of FY 2016, DOE solicited applications from Indian tribes (including Alaska Native villages, Alaska Native regional corporations and village corporations) and tribal energy resource development organizations to initiate the First Steps Toward Developing Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency on Tribal Lands. These First Steps projects will be selected for award in the second quarter of FY 2017.

2015

In FY 2014, DOE solicited applications for financial assistance from Indian tribes (including Alaska Native regional corporations, village corporations, tribal consortia, and tribal organizations) and tribal energy resource development organizations to deploy facility-scale clean energy and energy efficiency projects and community-scale clean energy projects on Indian lands. A total of 10 deployment projects were awarded in Fiscal Year 2015.

2014

In FY 2013, DOE solicited applications for financial assistance from Indian tribes (including Alaska Native regional corporations, village corporations, tribal consortia, and tribal organizations) and tribal energy resource development organizations to deploy community-scale clean energy projects on Indian lands. Eight projects were awarded in FY 2014.

In FY 2013, a total of five projects were selected to receive technical assistance through the Strategic Technical Assistance Response Team (START) Program for renewable energy project development and installation; these projects were awarded in FY 2014.

2012

In FY 2011, DOE solicited applications for financial assistance from federally recognized Native American Tribes, Alaska Native villages, and Alaska Native corporations for renewable energy development and deployment in Indian Country.

Under this solicitation, DOE sought applications for:

  • Feasibility Study
  • Development (Preconstruction) Activities
  • Deployment (Construction) of Renewable Energy Power Projects.

A total of 15 projects were selected and awarded in FY 2012 (13 feasibility studies and two development projects).

2011

In FY 2011, DOE solicited applications for financial assistance from federally recognized Native American Tribes, Alaska Native villages, and Alaska Native corporations.

A total of 30 projects were selected for award.

The solicitations are summarized below.

Energy Efficiency Development and Deployment in Indian Country

Under this solicitation, DOE sought applications to conduct feasibility studies for:

  1. Topic Area 1: Feasibility Study
  2. Topic Area 2: Installation Project

Thirteen energy efficiency projects (nine feasibility study projects and four installation projects) were awarded in FY 2011.

First Steps Toward Developing Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency on Tribal Lands

Under this solicitation, DOE sought applications for:

  1. Topic Area 1: Strategic Energy Planning
  2. Topic Area 2: Energy Options Analysis
  3. Topic Area 3: Energy Organization Development
  4. Topic Area 4: Human Capacity Building

Seventeen First Steps projects were awarded in FY 2011.

2010

In FY 2009, DOE solicited applications for financial assistance from federally recognized Native American Tribes, Alaska Native villages, and Alaska Native corporations.

A total of 36 projects were selected under the FY 2009 solicitations and received awards in FY 2010. 

Three solicitations were issued and are summarized below.

Renewable Energy or Energy Efficiency Deployment in Indian Country

Under this solicitation, DOE sought applications for:

  1. Installation of efficiency improvements to existing tribally owned buildings, including;
    1. Energy efficiency improvements and/or
    2. Renewable energy system installations for building heating or cooling; or
  2. Preconstruction activities for renewable energy projects; or
  3. Construction of renewable energy projects for power production. The feasibility studies were intended to demonstrate the potential sustainability of renewable energy development on tribal lands, including the potential economic and environmental benefits to the tribe.

Eleven projects were awarded, including five energy efficiency installation projects, five renewable energy preconstruction projects, and one renewable energy construction project.

Assessing the Feasibility of Renewable Energy Development and Energy Efficiency Deployment on Tribal Lands

Under this solicitation, DOE sought applications to conduct feasibility studies for either the:

  1. Implementation of building efficiency measures, including:
    1. Energy efficiency improvements and/or
    2. Renewable energy systems to meet the building's heating or cooling load; or
  2. Development of economically sustainable renewable energy installations.

Seventeen feasibility studies were awarded.

First Steps Toward Developing Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency on Tribal Lands

Under this solicitation, DOE sought applications for:

  • Technical and administrative weatherization education and training and/or
  • Skills development through apprenticeships or on-the-job training at existing weatherization provider organizations.

Eight First Steps projects were awarded in FY 2010.

2009

In FY 2009, DOE issued three project funding opportunity announcements:

  • First Steps Toward Tribal Weatherization—Human Capacity Development
  • Assessing the Feasibility of Renewable Energy Development and Energy Efficiency Deployment on Tribal Lands
  • Renewable Energy or Energy Efficiency Deployment in Indian Country.

Applications for financial assistance were solicited from federally recognized tribes, Alaska Native villages or regional or village corporations, and tribal energy resource development organizations.

Even though DOE announced the selection of 36 tribal projects in August 2009 (see below), due to the Recovery Act and resulting workload, the awards were not made until 2010. See 2010 Funding History for more detail.

Award Announcement

On August 13, 2009, DOE announced the availability of up to $13.6 million in multi-year funding for new clean energy projects on tribal lands. Thirty-six Native American Tribes and Alaska Native villages have been selected to receive awards that will advance renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency and conservation projects on tribal lands and rural Alaska Native villages. The DOE funding, awarded through a competitive process, is expected to be matched by up to $27 million in public and private investment, for a total value of nearly $41 million.

In addition to the Alaska Native villages, the funding will go to tribes in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Washington, and Wisconsin. Of the 36 Native American Tribes and villages whose projects have been selected for negotiation, eight projects will provide weatherization training and resources to tribal members, 17 projects will focus on assessing the feasibility of renewable energy development and energy efficiency deployment on tribal lands, and 11 projects will fund the development of renewable energy projects and the deployment of energy efficiency measures on tribal lands and villages. The renewable energy projects will employ hydropower and wind power, while the feasibility studies will be examining a wide range of renewable energy technologies.

2008

In FY 2008, DOE issued two project funding opportunity announcements:

  • Renewable Energy Deployment in Alaska Native Villages
  • Renewable Energy or Energy Efficiency Deployment in Indian Country (Contiguous 48 States).

Applications for financial assistance were solicited from federally recognized tribes, Alaska Native villages or regional or village corporations, and tribal energy resource development organizations.

Two applications were selected for funding in FY 2008. Following is the text of the award announcement.

Award Announcement

DOE will make available up to $2.3 million for two renewable energy projects selected for negotiation of awards that support the advancement of renewable energy technologies on tribal lands and in rural Alaskan villages.

The Council of Athabascan Tribal Governments, a consortium of ten Gwich'in and Koyukon Athabascan tribes in 10 remote villages along Alaska's Yukon River, will develop a biomass energy program. Their Fort Yukon Wood Energy Project will use wood fuel to displace diesel fuel used for heating. The region is rich in forest resources but the tribes face a daily struggle to meet their communities' energy needs. The Fort Yukon school and gym use 30,000 gallons of fuel oil annually for heat, and that fuel oil must be flown or barged in to each community. Once established, this project will serve as a model for similar sustainable biomass projects in Interior Alaska.

Also selected was the Yakama Nations' Wapato Hydroelectric Project. Under this project, the Yakama Nation in Washington state will install inflow water turbines (as part of their Wapato Irrigation Project) to generate one megawatt of electricity. The use of the flow of water to generate electricity is not expected to interfere with the primary purpose of the water system which will continue to supply irrigation to the 142,000 acres of land on the Yakama Reservation.

The awards are cost-shared, with the Council of Athabascan Tribal Governments requesting $1.2 million in DOE funding and the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation requesting about $1.1 million.

2007

In FY 2006, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) solicited applications for financial assistance from federally recognized tribes or Alaskan Native corporations to conduct feasibility studies for renewable energy installations on tribal lands, and for "First Steps" projects (initial steps toward renewable energy and energy efficiency development).

A total of 15 applications were selected for funding in FY 2007: six feasibility studies and nine "First Steps" planning grants. The feasibility studies are intended to demonstrate the potential sustainability of renewable energy development on tribal lands, including the potential economic and environmental benefits to the tribe. The "First Steps" projects are focused on energy options analysis or resource planning, human capacity building and organizational development related to the implementation of sustainable energy efficiency or development of renewable energy.

2006

In FY 2005, DOE solicited applications for financial assistance from federally recognized tribes or Alaskan Native corporations to conduct feasibility studies for renewable energy installations on tribal lands, and for "First Steps" projects (initial steps toward renewable energy and energy efficiency development).

Of the 14 feasibility study applications selected for funding under the FY 2005 solicitation, eight tribal projects were awarded in FY 2005 and six were awarded using FY 2006 funds. These feasibility studies are intended to demonstrate the potential sustainability of renewable energy development on tribal lands, including the potential economic and environmental benefits to the tribe.

Of the 16 "First Steps" study applications selected, 11 were awarded in 2005 and five were awarded in FY 2006. These "First Steps" projects are focused on energy options analysis or resource planning, human capacity building, and organizational development related to the implementation of sustainable energy efficiency or development of renewable energy.

2005

In FY 2005, DOE solicited applications for financial assistance from federally recognized Native American Tribes, Alaskan Native villages, and Alaskan Native corporations interested in renewable energy development on tribal lands.

A total of 20 projects received awards in FY 2005. Two solicitations were issued and are summarized below.

Renewable Energy Development on Tribal Lands

Under this solicitation, DOE sought applications to:

  • Conduct feasibility studies for renewable energy installations on tribal lands (no cost-share required)
  • Develop economically sustainable renewable energy projects (20% cost-share required).

The feasibility studies were intended to demonstrate the potential sustainability of renewable energy development on tribal lands, including the potential economic and environmental benefits to the tribe.

The development projects were the result of previously conducted feasibility assessments and were intended to demonstrate the potential for job creation, market penetration locally or for export, replicability, and the environmental and economic benefits to the tribe.

Eight feasibility studies and one development project were awarded in FY 2005.

First Steps Toward Developing Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency on Tribal Lands

Under this solicitation, DOE sought applications for:

  • Strategic energy planning
  • Energy options analysis or resource planning
  • Energy organization development
  • Human capacity building.

Eleven "First Steps" projects were awarded in FY 2005.

2004

In FY 2003, DOE solicited applications for financial assistance from federally recognized tribes or Alaskan Native corporations to conduct feasibility studies for renewable energy installations on tribal lands.

Of the 11 feasibility study applications selected for funding under the FY 2003 solicitation, four tribal projects were awarded in FY 2003, and seven projects were awarded using FY 2004 funds.

These feasibility studies were intended to demonstrate the potential sustainability of renewable energy development on tribal lands, including the potential economic and environmental benefits to the tribe.

2003

In FY 2003, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) solicited applications for financial assistance from federally recognized tribes and Alaskan Native corporations interested in renewable energy development on tribal lands.

A total of 24 projects received awards in FY 2003, including eight feasibility studies that were competitively selected in FY 2002 but not funded until FY 2003. Two solicitations were issued in FY 2003 and are summarized below.

Renewable Energy Development on Tribal Lands

Under this solicitation, DOE sought applications to:

  • Conduct feasibility studies for renewable energy installations on tribal lands (no cost share required)
  • Develop economically sustainable renewable energy projects (20% cost share required).

The feasibility studies were intended to demonstrate the potential sustainability of renewable energy development on tribal lands, including the potential economic and environmental benefits to the tribe.

The development projects were the result of previously conducted feasibility assessments and were intended to demonstrate the potential for job creation, market penetration locally or for export, replicability, and the environmental and economic benefits to the tribe.

Seven projects, including three development projects and four feasibility studies, were competitively selected and awarded under this solicitation in FY 2003. This figure does not include the eight feasibility studies selected in FY 2002 and funded in FY 2003.

First Steps Toward Developing Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency on Tribal Lands

Under this solicitation, DOE sought applications for:

  • Strategic energy planning
  • Energy options analysis or resource planning
  • Energy organization development
  • Human capacity building.

A total of nine "First Steps" projects were competitively selected and awarded in FY 2003.

2002

In FY 2002, under the authority of the Energy Policy Act, DOE solicited applications from federally recognized tribes or Alaskan Native corporations to do one of the following:

  • Conduct feasibility studies for the development of economically sustainable renewable energy installations on tribal lands
  • Implement sustainable renewable energy development projects.

The feasibility studies were intended to demonstrate the potential sustainability of renewable energy development on tribal lands, including the potential economic and environmental benefits to the tribe.

The development projects were the result of previously conducted feasibility assessments and were intended to demonstrate the potential for job creation, market penetration locally or for export, replicability, and the environmental and economic benefits to the tribe.

A total of 14 projects, including 12 feasibility studies and two development projects, were awarded in FY 2002.

2000-2001

In FY 2000, in support of Executive Order 13021, DOE issued a solicitation for renewable energy development at tribal colleges and universities. The solicitation was titled "Feasibility Studies for Potential Application of Renewable Energy Technologies at Tribal Colleges and Universities."

The main objective of this solicitation was to demonstrate the viability of installing renewable energy systems at tribal colleges and universities. The second objective was to integrate renewable energy courses into educational programs and science curricula, with an emphasis on experiential teaching so students and their communities could learn about the use and benefits of these technologies.

The program was designed with two phases. The initial phase focused on feasibility studies conducted by tribal colleges and universities (and their selected partners and subcontractors). Its purpose was to determine the most appropriate renewable energy technologies to implement, and how to integrate those technologies with an educational and outreach program to the tribal community. The second phase focused on the installation of the renewable energy hardware and implementation of the related educational program.

Fourteen tribal colleges and universities responded to the solicitation, resulting in seven one-year feasibility studies being awarded. Total DOE funds for the feasibility study phase were $700,000. Through a competitive process, one tribal college, Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute, was awarded subsequent funding to install renewable energy hardware and integrate renewable energy into their curricula.

1999

In FY 1999, DOE's Golden Field Office issued a solicitation for "Remote Applications of Renewable Power Technologies on Native American Lands." The solicitation asked tribes to develop and field-validate renewable power systems on reservations or tribally owned lands.

DOE only considered applications that included, as an active partner, a federally recognized Indian Tribe or Alaskan Native corporation on whose reservation or other tribally owned lands the systems would be located.

DOE competitively awarded and funded eight projects, totaling $1.8 million. As a result, tribes installed solar electric (photovoltaic) and solar hot water heating systems and wind turbines, and demonstrated the potential for job creation, market penetration of renewable power technology, replicability, and economic and environmental benefits to the participating tribes or tribal members.

1994-1995

In 1994, a competitive solicitation was issued by DOE's Denver Regional Office, which resulted in 17 projects. A second solicitation was issued in 1995, which resulted in 18 projects. Total funding for these 35 projects was $6.5 million.

Title XXVI "Indian Energy Resources" of the Energy Policy Act of 1992 (Public Law 102-486) authorized the Secretary of Energy to establish a demonstration program to assist Indian Tribes in pursuing energy self-sufficiency, and to promote the development of energy industries on tribal lands.