Choctaw Nation gets $5 million Energy grant for storage system in Poteau


A $5 million U.S. Energy Department grant has been awarded the Choctaw Nation in Oklahoma to help with construction of a battery energy storage system in Poteau.

The Department’s Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations announced the awarding of the grant as part of the Energy Improvements in Rural or Remote Areas (ERA) program. The project for the Choctaw Nation is called Greencare: Empowering Resilience in Poteau .

It was selected as one of 19 community-led clean energy projects across 12 states and 13 tribal nations and communities to receive more than $78 million to develop and deploy sustainable clean energy solutions and expand access to reliable and affordable energy in rural and remote communities across the country.

The Greencare: Empowering Resilience in Poteau project, will install approximately 2.1 MWh of battery energy storage systems — creating a microgrid. The CNO’s Poteau campus has had an average of three power outages a year since 2018. The microgrid will provide backup power during outages for a health clinic, child development center, and food distribution center on the Poteau campus, allowing tribal members to receive these vital services despite any severe weather. The project also includes energy-efficient upgrades in seven buildings on the CNO Poteau campus.

The project is expected to save an estimated $140,000 annually in electricity costs.

“We are tremendously excited with the opportunity to provide consistent power for our tribal members in the Poteau area, especially with services such as healthcare,” said Choctaw Nation Chief Gary Batton. “The US Department of Energy has been a tremendous partner in offering this grant for the betterment of our tribal members and those in the Choctaw Nation reservation in and around Poteau.”

Oklahoma Gas & Electric Company (OG&E) will install the battery storage as part of a partnership with the CNO.

“Partnering with the Choctaw Nation on this exciting project will provide reliable back-up power to the tribe’s Poteau campus. Our customers tell us their top priority is reliability, and that’s why we make investments and upgrades to harden the electric grid against the extreme weather we experience in Oklahoma and western Arkansas,” said Sean Trauschke, OGE Energy Corp. Chairman, president and CEO.

“The battery installation in this project will ensure the Choctaw Nation’s health care and child development facilities in Poteau have clean, resilient back-up power and will be able to provide critical services to tribal members regardless of the weather.”