Written By: Emma Websdale
In attempt to strengthen Native American Tribal Nations against the threats of climate change, the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) has announced that it will invest over US$7 million into nine tribal clean energy projects.
As part of President Obama’s National Climate Change Action Plan, the DoE announced at this year’s White House Tribal Nations Conference that it will be awarding over $7 million to help American Indian and Alaska Native tribes to deploy nine new clean energy projects.
With Native American lands holding an estimated 5% of national renewable energy resources, the new tribal clean energy projects can enhance energy security in Native American communities, build resilience to climate change and create green job and business opportunities.
“American Indian and Alaska Native tribes host a wide range of untapped energy resources that can help build a sustainable energy future for their local communities”, says Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. “Responsible development of these clean energy resources will help cut energy waste and fight the harmful effects of carbon pollution –strengthening energy security of Tribal nations throughout the country.”
Projects selected to receive funding from the DoE include solar panel installations on eight tribal facilities in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; a 1.8 megawatt (MW) wind turbine installation near Lake Erie, New York; and a woody biomass-fueled boiler to heat a tribal facility in White Earth, Minnesota.
Since 2002, investments made under the Energy Department’s Tribal Energy Program have totaled almost $42 million. By fostering economic development and employment on tribal lands through the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency techniques, the DoE’s 175 clean energy projects have helped developed tribal energy security.
Also highlighting how green technology can transform the lives of those living in tribal communities is the “Iconic Island Initiative”. That initiative’s goal is to power an isolated Indonesian island by 100% renewable energy. Safe green renewable energy will replace the island’s use of kerosene, which is expensive, highly polluting and hazardous. This month, the Norwegian Embassy announced it would invest up to US$2 million dollars into the Iconic Island Initiative.