Energy Department Expands Technical Assistance for Tribal Energy Projects

WASHINGTON--(ENEWSPF)--January 30, 2013. As part of the Obama Administration’s efforts to help Tribal communities across the country enhance their energy security and build a sustainable energy future, the Energy Department today announced the second round of the Strategic Technical Assistance Response Team (START) Program, which provides federally recognized Tribal governments with technical assistance to accelerate clean energy project deployment. Additionally, the Energy Department plans to seek information from Tribes interested in launching or expanding utility services in their own communities, which will help establish a new START Utility Program (START-UP).

“Building on our all-of-the-above strategy to deploy every available domestic energy resource, the new technical assistance opportunities announced today will strengthen our partnerships with Tribal communities, create good jobs and protect our planet,” said Office of Indian Energy Director Tracey LeBeau.  “Working side-by-side with tribal energy leaders across the country, we are making sure Native American and Alaska Native Tribes have the tools and resources they need to foster economic competitiveness and promote tribal self-sufficiency.”

Launching START Second Round

Over the past year, the START program has helped nine Tribal communities advance their clean energy technology and infrastructure projects – from solar and wind to biofuels and energy efficiency. Through the current round of START projects, energy experts at the Department’s National Laboratories and at other federal agencies have worked side-by-side with tribal leaders to develop strategic community energy plans, conduct market research and identify financing mechanisms to support cost-effective renewable energy project development.

This second round of technical assistance awards will build upon the initial successes of the START program and further help Native American and Alaska Native communities increase local generation capacity, enhance energy efficiency measures and create local entrepreneurial and job opportunities. In the contiguous United States, Energy Department and National Laboratory experts will provide technical assistance on Tribes’ clean energy project development -- supporting community-scale renewable energy projects across the country. In Alaska, the Energy Department and the Denali Commission help rural Alaska Native communities conduct energy awareness and training programs and pursue new renewable energy and energy efficiency opportunities. The selected Alaska Native villages may also be eligible for grant funding that supports renewable energy or energy efficiency projects.

For more information and application requirements for the START program, please visit the Energy Department’s Office of Indian Energy website. Applications are due by March 15, 2013.

New Program Focused on Tribal Utility Planning

As part of the Energy Department’s efforts to support affordable and reliable electrical service to Indian lands and Tribal communities, the Department is launching a new Tribal START Utility Program (START-UP). This new program expands on the current START program to help Tribes across the country develop their own utility services and increase ownership of local energy assets.

To ensure START-UP meets the needs of Indian Country, the Department plans to gather information and public comment from tribes interested in developing, acquiring or expanding utility services in their own communities. Additional details on this effort will be available on the Office of Indian Energy website in the coming weeks.

Find more information on the Energy Department’s broader efforts to support energy efficiency projects and energy development on Tribal lands at www.energy.gov/indianenergy.

Source: energy.gov