Funding opportunity offers $50 million for Tribal clean energy investments


The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced a $50 million funding opportunity for Tribal clean energy projects, continuing its efforts to promote clean energy development in Native American communities. 

This funding presents a great opportunity for Tribes, Tribal energy development organizations, and intertribal organizations to create significant economic benefits for their communities by providing them with the knowledge, skills, and resources needed to implement clean energy projects.

The DOE's Office of Indian Energy, which provides technical assistance and financial support for tribal energy projects, will oversee distributions of the funding. A range of clean energy projects, such as solar, wind, hydroelectric, and geothermal energy, as well as energy efficiency and energy storage are eligible.

Funds will be awarded in the form of cost-share grants for 80% of the total project cost. The award recipient is responsible for the other 20% of project costs. The cost match requirement may be cut to 10% if the community qualifies based on financial need, which is calculated by the community poverty rate and median household income of the Tribal community as a percentage of statewide median household income. Applicants are welcome to submit more than one application for different projects.

Tribal clean energy projects have the potential to reduce energy costs, increase energy sovereignty, create jobs, stimulate local economies, and provide a source of revenue for Tribes.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory recently published a report “Developing Clean Energy Projects on Tribal Lands: Data and Resources for Tribes,” which provides tribal governments with data to make informed decisions about renewable development options for their communities. The report highlights the renewable energy technical potential on Tribal lands and walks community leaders through the planning process as they decide what projects are best suited for their communities.

Tribal communities have long been at the forefront of the fight against climate change, with many already developing and implementing clean energy projects. However, these efforts have often been hampered by a lack of resources and funding. 

Applications are due May 16. Application details, technical assistance, and information about other funding opportunities can be found on the DOE’s Office of Indian Energy website.