DOE opens $15 FOA for energy deployment on tribal lands

By Erin Voegele | April 06, 2020

The U.S. Department of Energy on March 27 announced it making up to $15 million available to deploy energy technology on tribal lands. Bioenergy projects are among those eligible for the funding, according to the funding opportunity announcement (FOA).

Funding is being made available under four primary topic areas. The topic areas include energy generating systems and energy efficiency measures for tribal buildings; community-scale energy generating systems or community energy storage deployment; integrated energy systems for autonomous operation; and electrification of tribal buildings.

Combined-heat-and-power (CHP) systems fueled with biomass, biogas, landfill or sewage gas, solid waste, waste gases, waste process heat, natural gas, fuel and gas oils, coal, lignite, or coke are among the energy systems that could qualify for funding.

Renewable energy systems that generate electric power may qualify, including those fueled with biomass, including waste-to-energy. Photovoltaic systems and those powered by wind, hydropower, or other renewable hybrid systems are also eligible.

Funding may also be available for renewable energy systems for heating and cooling, including high efficiency stoves and boilers fueled with biomass. In addition, active solar thermal systems for space or water heating, wind energy for heating, direct-use hydro thermal systems for water and spacing heating and other renewable energy hybrid systems for heating and/or cooling may qualify.

Eligible biomass projects must be able to demonstrate the sustainability of the biomass resource proposed for use.

“It is critical that Indian Tribes and Alaska Natives have the ability and tools available to them to harness and utilize the energy resources on their sovereign land,” said U.S. Under Secretary of Energy Mark W. Menezes. “This funding will enable tribal communities to maximize deployment of energy technologies, strengthening their infrastructure, resource development, and ultimately their energy security.”

“Indian Country is primed to be a leader in this nation in different aspects of energy development—and with 574 tribes across the country, that's 574 different energy development goals,” said Kevin R. Frost, Director of the Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs. “Accordingly, this FOA is fuel- and technology-neutral, meaning it allows tribes to use the breadth of energy resources available to them in their pursuit of sovereignty and self-determination.”  

The DOE said it plans to make six to 12 awards under this FOA, each with a 50 percent cost share. The selected projects aim to stabilize or reduce energy costs and increase energy security and resiliency for Indian Tribes and tribal members.

An informational webinar on the FOA is scheduled for April 7. Applications are due July 1. Selected applicants are expected to be notified this fall. A full copy of the FOA is available on the DOE Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Exchange website under DE-FOA-0002317.