14 tribal communities across the United States will share about $9 million in federal grant money designated for renewable projects. Because of how remote some Native American reservations are, the opportunity to generate sustainable energy is significant.
Additionally, the grant money can initiate positive shifts in the economy and workforce while creating clean energy. A large portion of the federal grant money ($1.2 million) is going to the Navajo Nation in northeastern Arizona.
With the money, the tribe’s renewable energy project will provide electricity to 24 homes on the reservation, where one-third of people are not on the power grid.
Projects That Will Create Cleaner Energy
The federal grant money is spread out to various tribes in Arizona, Idaho, California, Alaska, Washington, New Mexico, and Minnesota. Between all the sustainable energy projects, it is expected that the tribes will create 3.3 megawatts of renewable energy and 3.6 megawatts of battery storage.
Although this number is relatively small, it’s a positive step forward that aims to address a more pressing issue at hand. That said, the goal is to provide more Native American families with clean energy and access to a more reliable energy source.
“Clean energy is an enormous opportunity for tribal communities because it creates great jobs, local jobs, and makes people healthier and safer,” Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm explains.
Although the projects vary based on the specific tribe, the grant money is intended to create or support sustainable energy projects. For some tribes, this means installing solar power at their casino, wellness center, or youth recreation center.
For other tribes, they’ll use the money to revamp hydropower turbines for increased energy production. Finally, one tribe plans to use geothermal energy to power and heat tribal buildings, a water well, a pump house, and bathing pools.
Grant Money That Will Make An Incredible Difference
Implementing more sustainable energy on Native American reservations is an effort that demands more attention. With that, about 14% of households on reservations have no access to electricity, according to the Energy Information Administration.
This number is ten times higher than the national average in the United States. The reason for the staggering percentage is due to how remote these areas are.
For example, some distribution lines would cost $60,000 a mile to reach these remote locations. Therefore, solar energy and battery storage are much more sensible options than traditional electricity.
So, even though the recent grant money will only impact a handful of tribes, it’s setting an example for others.
In addition to providing sustainable energy to households and communities that desperately need it, some of the previously mentioned projects have more positive effects; new projects mean new job opportunities in the community and an improved way of life.
Overall, the recently distributed federal grant money displays the various advantages of using clean energy on Native American reservations.