US to fund Native American clean energy projects

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The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced more than $9 million in funding for Native American and Alaskan communities for clean energy projects.

In a news release on Tuesday, the DOE said that the projects would provide both Native American Tribes and Alaskan Native villages with clean energy that would help to save money and slash carbon pollution.

"The Energy Department is committed to maximizing the development and deployment of energy solutions for the benefit of American Indians and Alaska Natives," Christopher Deschene, director of the DOE's Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs, said.

"By providing tribal communities and Alaska Native villages with knowledge, skills, and resources, we hope to help tribal communities harness their local indigenous renewable energy resources, reduce their energy costs, create jobs, and help implement successful strategic energy solutions," Deschene added.

The DOE's Office of Indian Energy and National Renewable Energy Laboratory report that while Native American land makes up around 2 percent of the U.S., it possesses an estimated 5 percent of "all renewable energy resources."

Sixteen projects have been selected to receive funding. These include Little Big Horn College in Montana, which is planning to install a, "45 kW (kilowatt) roof-mounted and awning-style solar PV array."

This would help displace over 16 percent of electricity usage at the College Health & Wellness Center, saving $6,600 a year and providing jobs to Crow tribal members, the DOE said.

The DOE said that since 2002, its Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs and its predecessor program had invested more than $50 million in almost 200 "tribal clean energy projects."