- By Tribal Business News Staff
- Energy | Environment
The Department of the Interior announced the launch of a new program to electrify homes in Tribal communities.
The new program will provide $72.5 million in initial funding to help Tribal nations bring electricity to homes that have never had it before. It is part of an overall $150 million investment under the Inflation Reduction Act to support the electrification of homes in Native communities.
The DOI plans to complete two rounds of funding under the new program with full obligation of funds to be completed by the end of the 2024 calendar year. The program’s awards do not require matching funds, according to the DOI website.
The new program aims to deliver on the Biden administration’s goal of electrifying all homes in Indian Country with renewable energy sources by 2035. The program will also help to advance the administration's work to reach a carbon-free electricity sector by the same year.
The funding comes in response to climate change events that have left “far too many” communities managing for worsening water challenges, extreme heat, devastating wildfires and unprecedented storms, according to Interior Secretary Deb Haaland.
"Climate change is the crisis of our lifetimes," Haaland said in a statement. “This funding will help us to electrify Indian Country and build a clean energy future."
The new electrification funding program will provide financial and technical assistance to Tribes to connect homes to transmission and distribution that is powered by renewable energy. It will also provide electricity to unelectrified Tribal homes through zero-emissions energy systems. Additionally, the program will support associated home repairs and retrofitting necessary to install the zero-emissions energy systems.
The Tribal Electrification Program is part of the Biden administration's Justice40 Initiative, which aims to ensure that 40% of the benefits of climate investments go to disadvantaged communities. The program will also support clean energy workforce development opportunities in Indian Country.
"This is one of the many historic investments we are making to fund long-overdue infrastructure needs in Indigenous communities," said Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Bryan Newland.
The Tribal Electrification Program is a significant investment in the future of Tribal communities. It will help to improve the quality of life for Tribal citizens, create jobs, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, he said.