$38 Million in Federal Clean Energy Funding Headed for American Indian and Alaska Native Communities
Four of thirteen projects receiving funding will help Alaska communities reduce their dependence on diesel generators, increase energy security, and save on fuel costs.
Reliable Energy, Greater Sovereignty
In support of President Joseph Biden’s Investing in America agenda, the US Department of Energy (DOE) on September 28 announced $38 million in funding for thirteen projects aimed at advancing clean energy technology deployment in American Indian and Alaska Native communities. This funding will bolster ongoing efforts to reduce and stabilize energy costs, increase energy security and resilience, and provide electric power to Native communities. These investments bring our nation closer to the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal to enhance Tribal energy sovereignty, while achieving an equitable clean energy future.
“American Indian and Alaska Native communities are disproportionally affected by climate change, facing high and ever-increasing energy costs and unreliable or nonexistent energy sources,” says US Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “The projects selected today will help tribes build resiliency and stabilize energy costs, while contributing to the Biden-Harris administration’s broader goal of a net-zero economy by 2050.”
Many American Indian and Alaska Native communities face disproportionately high energy costs, frequent outages, or lack access entirely. These investments will provide local sustainable solutions, reducing costs and reliance on fossil fuels. Specifically, these cost-shared projects, valued at nearly $55 million, are estimated to result in more than 9.6 megawatts of new clean energy generation and more than 2,600 megawatt-hours of battery storage, affect over 1,300 tribal buildings, and save tribal communities more than $125 million over the life of the systems. This investment will yield tangible benefits year after year to improve the quality of life for underserved communities.
The thirteen projects competitively selected for negotiation of award are as follows:
- Alaska Village Electric Cooperative (Anchorage): The project will build a community-scale energy generating system with wind turbines on tribal lands in Goodnews Bay. It will convert the microgrid power system to a three-phase system and add two 100 kilowatt (kW) wind turbines and a 289 kWh lithium-ion battery. The project is expected to result in $3.8 million in total savings from reduced diesel fuel use over twenty years. (Requested DOE funds: $4,989,363)
- Chitina Electric (Chitina): This project will replace the utility’s diesel generators with a 250-kW hydroelectric system, which will meet community energy needs year-round while reducing diesel fuel consumption by more than 90 percent and providing excess electricity for heat. Based on anticipated diesel prices over the next fifty years, the utility and community is expected to save about $8.15 million in reduced fuel costs that will lower electricity costs by about 10 percent. (Requested DOE funds: $2,212,131)
- Metlakatla Indian Community (Metlakatla): The community and its utility, Metlakatla Power and Light, will install a 1.5 MW direct drive wind turbine on Annette Islands Reserve, producing approximately 4.15 million kWh of electricity per year. Energy from this installation will replace diesel generation currently used to provide energy to 245 tribal facilities and approximately 707 residential consumers, for an estimated savings of $910,000 annually. Excess generation will be sold, potentially creating an additional $85,000 of annual revenue. (Requested DOE funds: $4,519,359)
- Northwest Arctic Borough (Kotzebue): The project will integrate 234 kW of solar PV and 384 kWh of battery storage into the existing diesel system to serve the entire community of Ambler. It is estimated that the integrated system will result in 828 hours of “diesels-off” operation each year, reducing fuel consumption by more than 20,680 gallons and saving the community more than $176,000 annually and $4.4 million over the twenty-five year project life. (Requested DOE funds: $2,700,000)
These cost-shared clean energy projects are the result of a competitive funding opportunity announcement released February 2, 2023. Through these selected projects, the Office of Indian Energy continues its efforts to strengthen tribal energy and economic infrastructure, resource development, and electrification on tribal lands.
Between 2010 and 2022, the DOE Office of Indian Energy invested more than $120 million in more than 210 tribal energy projects implemented across the contiguous forty-eight states and Alaska. These projects, valued at more than $215 million, are leveraged by more than $93 million in recipient cost share. See the DOE Office of Indian Energy website for a map and summaries of these competitively funded projects.