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The Choctaw Nation and the Cachil DeHe Band of Wintun Indians of the Colusa Indian Community of the Colusa Rancheria were among 29 awardees for the newest tranche of funding under the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program.

The Department of Energy announced the awardees Wednesday morning as tribal leaders convened for the Tribal Clean Energy Summit this week in Temecula, California, at the Pechanga Resort Casino. An estimated 700 tribal leaders were expected to attend the conference, according to a DOE statement.

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The Cachil DeHe Band of Wintun Indians in California received $10,040 to purchase and install a fast-charging station for electric vehicles for public use at the tribe’s mini mart. 

In Oklahoma, the Choctaw Nation received $82,030 to develop an energy-conservation strategy, audit existing tribal nation buildings, and track savings as they begin implementing energy efficiency upgrades. 

In total, this latest round of funding issued $17.28 million in awards to four states, 23 local governments, and the two aforementioned tribes. It’s the fourth round of funding issued by the block grant program, which has awarded $91.51 million to 97 communities since its announcement in October 2023. 

State and federally recognized tribes are eligible for the block grants from the DOE, which will continue taking tribal applications through May 31, 2025. Technical assistance for applying for the grants is available, as well as in-person support — though in-person support must be applied for by Mar. 5, 2024. Awards for the program are announced on a monthly basis. 

“This funding will spark tangible investments flowing to residents and workers alike, helping transform communities across the nation, increasing access to clean energy solutions that will lower energy costs and enhance energy sovereignty,” U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm said in a statement.

On Tuesday, Granholm announced more than $400 million in clean energy funding for tribal and rural lands, including a $366 million investment in projects that span 20 states and 30 tribal nations. 

The DOE also announced two new funding opportunities on Tuesday:  a $25 million grant funding round through the Clean Energy Technology Deployment on Tribal Lands program, which will support renewable energy projects such as energy generation, storage, and electrifying tribal buildings. 

Tribes are also eligible for the $18 million Communities Sparking Investments in Transformative Energy, or C-SITE, funding opportunity, though this opportunity is also open to municipalities. The C-SITE program seeks to support renewable energy infrastructure as well, such as storage, microgrids, and retrofitting city infrastructure with energy efficient upgrades, according to an announcement

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About The Author
Chez Oxendine
Staff Writer
Chez Oxendine (Lumbee-Cheraw) is a staff writer for Tribal Business News. Based in Oklahoma, he focuses on broadband, Indigenous entrepreneurs, and federal policy. His journalism has been featured in Native News Online, Fort Gibson Times, Muskogee Phoenix, Baconian Magazine, and Oklahoma Magazine, among others.
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