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Secretary Chu Highlights Support for Clean Energy and Energy Efficiency Projects in Indian Country

Posted Nov 04 2009 9:00pm

WASHINGTON, DC - Today at the White House Tribal Nations Conference, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu highlighted the Department of Energy's continued commitment to partnering with Native Americans to support the development of clean energy projects on tribal lands that will help reduce energy use, limit carbon pollution, and create new jobs for tribal communities across the country.

"The Department of Energy is committed to partnering with tribal communities to help them meet their energy needs through clean energy and energy efficiency technologies," said Secretary Chu. "Clean energy projects will create jobs and economic opportunities on tribal lands, while reducing energy use and increasing energy security for Indian Country."

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act greatly expanded opportunities for cooperation between the Department of Energy and Indian Country with the goal of working together to promote energy development and energy efficiency.  Under the Recovery Act, the Department has made more than $35 million in direct grants for energy efficiency projects available to all 562 federally-recognized Indian tribes and 12 Alaska Regional Corporations, and provides funding that empowers tribes to make strategic clean energy investments in their communities.  With these funds, tribal governments will conduct a wide variety of projects, including: weatherization, energy efficiency audits and retrofits, transportation programs, financial incentive programs for efficiency improvements, installing renewable energy technologies on municipal buildings, developing an energy efficiency and conservation strategy, and educating tribal residents on ways to save energy in their own homes.  The Department expects to award another $29 million in Recovery Act funding over the next few months.

For example, the Resighini Rancheria will use  Energy Efficiency and Community Block grant funding from the Recovery Act to provide financial incentives to tribal homeowners to change out old, inefficient household appliances with energy efficient appliances, while the Cherokee Nation is planning to use Recovery Act funds to establish a Home Energy Audit program that will provide tribal citizens with the information needed to make their homes more energy efficient, creating local tribal jobs and yielding substantial energy savings.

In addition to the Recovery Act funding, the Department has also awarded more than $13 million for new clean energy projects on tribal lands this year.  This funding will be matched with other additional public and private investments to support more than $40 million in total projects. Under the Tribal Energy Program, 36 Native American tribes and Alaska villages received competitive awards to help develop and deploy a range of clean energy projects that will advance renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in Indian Country.  For example, the funding will support projects to expand tribal wind and hydroelectric power generation, improve building and lighting efficiency, and implement new training programs for weatherization workers.  For more information and a full list of awards, view the Tribal Funding press release .

Read more on the Tribal Energy Program .

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