Combined with battery storage, the Hualapai Tribe’s new ground-mounted photovoltaic system will be able to supply up to half of Grand Canyon West’s annual load with clean, resilient, affordable energy from the sun. Image from Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs.

$71 Million to Electrify Tribal Homes with Clean Energy

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WASHINGTON — The Department of the Interior today announced the availability of $71 million in funding through President Biden’s Investing in America agenda to help Tribal communities electrify their homes. This investment is a critical step toward the goal of electrifying all homes in Indian Country with clean energy sources and advances the Biden-Harris administration’s work to reach a carbon-free electricity sector by 2035.

This is the second round of funding from the Office of Indian Affairs’ Tribal Electrification Program, part of an overall $150 million investment from the Inflation Reduction Act — the largest ever investment in combatting the climate crisis — to support the electrification of homes in Tribal communities. Secretary Haaland announced $72 million in awards from the first round of funding earlier this year.

“As the Interior Department implements this new program, we will continue to support Tribes as they work to develop their electricity infrastructure and help meet our shared clean energy goals,” said Secretary Haaland. “Through President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, we’re providing reliable, resilient energy that Tribes can rely on, and advancing our work to tackle the climate crisis and build a clean energy future.”

A key pillar of Bidenomics, the President’s Investing in America agenda is deploying record investments to provide affordable high-speed internet, safer roads and bridges, modern wastewater and sanitations systems, clean drinking water, reliable and affordable electricity, and good paying jobs in every Tribal community.

“Funding from the President’s Investing in America agenda will bring electricity to homes in Tribal communities that have never had it; it will have a fundamental and significant impact on businesses, communities and families,” said Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Bryan Newland. “The Tribal Electrification Program is important for providing Tribes a much-needed boost to their efforts of closing the access-to-electricity gap in their communities.”

Tribal Nations across the country have their own unique energy and electrification-related needs and implementation capacity. The Tribal Electrification Program is meeting the unique needs of individual Tribal communities by supporting collaborative and community-led planning and implementation.

Through this funding, the program will provide financial and technical assistance to Tribes to connect homes to transmission and distribution that is powered by clean energy; provide electricity to unelectrified Tribal homes through zero-emissions energy systems; transition electrified Tribal homes to zero-emissions energy systems; and support associated home repairs and retrofitting necessary to install the zero-emissions energy systems. The program will also support clean energy workforce development opportunities in Indian Country.

In 2000, the Energy Information Administration issued a report that estimated that 14 percent of households on Native American reservations had no access to electricity, which was 10 times higher than the national average. In 2022, the Department of Energy Office of Indian Energy issued a report citing that 16,805 Tribal homes were unelectrified, with most being in the Southwest region and Alaska. By recognizing that each Tribe has its own energy- and electrification-related needs and implementation capacity, this program will meet the unique needs of individual Tribal communities.

The Tribal Electrification Program also advances the Biden-Harris administration’s Justice40 Initiative, which was established by President Biden as part of his January 2021 Executive Order 14008, Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad, and which set the goal that 40 percent of the overall benefits of certain federal investments flow to disadvantaged communities that have been marginalized by underinvestment and overburdened by pollution, including federally recognized Tribal Nations, which are recognized as Justice40 communities.

For more information on this program, please visit the Bureau of Indian Affairs website.

News release from U.S. DOI.


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