Native tribes to share $366 million for renewable energy projects


The Biden administration announced this week it intends to launch a $366 million plan to fund 17 projects across the U.S. to expand renewable energy on Native American reservations and other rural areas.

The Energy Department said the money comes from the  $1 trillion infrastructure law President Joe Biden signed in 2021. None of the projects are in Oklahoma. The funding, according to the Energy Department announcement will fund solar, battery storage and hydropower projects in sparsely populated regions where electricity can be costly and unreliable.

Among the projects is a $10 million funding for the Taos Pueblo in New Mexico to install a 5 MW solar photovoltaic and 10 MWh battery storage system. It will serve about 2,500 rural Taos Pueblo Tribal members.

Solar powered battery-based systems will be funded with $8 million to serve rural Hopi and Navajo in New Mexico, Arizona and Utah. The Energy Department says it will reduce energy burdens and electrify 300 tribal homes by installing an off-grid solar and battery storage system. It’s in an area where the government says the families can spend up to 50% of their income on energy expenses.

In Colorado, $6,120,000 will go for the Fort Lupton Microgrid project to replace an aging diesel generator and replace it with a floating solar PV array and battery storage system on the community’s water treatment plant reservoir.

Nearly $9.5 million will go to fund an Iowa State University Electric Power Research Center at Montezuma, Iowa. It will create the first utility-scale microgrid in Iowa for the rural community of 1,460. The project will involve construction of a solar array and battery storage system to reduce reliance on aging infrastructure and back-up diesel generation.

“President Biden firmly believes that every community should benefit from the nation’s historic transition to a clean energy future, especially those in rural and remote areas,” U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said in a statement.

Source: Associated Press