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The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has launched the second round of its Strategic Technical Assistance Response Team (START), which provides federally recognized tribal governments with technical assistance to accelerate clean energy project deployment.

In addition, the DOE plans to seek information from tribes that are interested in launching or expanding utility services in their own communities, which will help establish a new START Utility Program (START-UP).

Over the past year, the START program has helped nine tribal communities advance their clean energy technology and infrastructure projects, which have included solar, wind, biofuel and energy-efficiency initiatives.

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 U.S., experts from the DOE and its national labs will provide technical assistance on tribes’ clean energy project development, supporting community-scale renewable energy projects across the country. In Alaska, the DOE and the Denali Commission will 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.

The DOE's new START-UP will expand 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 the tribes, the DOE plans to gather information and public comment from the tribes interested in developing, acquiring or expanding utility services in their own communities.

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