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With the goal of working to promote energy development and energy efficiency in Indian Country, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu reaffirmed the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) commitment to partnering with Native Americans to support the development of clean energy projects on tribal lands that will help reduce energy use, limit carbon pollution and create new jobs for tribal communities across the country. Chu's remarks were made as part of the White House tribal nations conference.

"The Department of Energy is committed to partnering with tribal communities to help them meet their energy needs through clean energy and energy efficiency technologies," says Secretary Chu. "Clean energy projects will create jobs and economic opportunities on tribal lands, while reducing energy use and increasing energy security for Indian Country."

Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), the department has made more than $35 million in direct grants for energy efficiency projects available to all 562 federally recognized Indian tribes and 12 Alaska regional corporations, and provides funding that empowers tribes to make strategic clean energy investments in their communities.

With these funds, tribal governments will conduct a wide variety of projects, including weatherization, energy efficiency audits and retrofits, transportation programs, financial incentive programs for efficiency improvements, installing renewable energy technologies on municipal buildings, developing an energy efficiency and conservation strategy, and educating tribal residents on ways to save energy in their own homes.

The DOE expects to award another $29 million in funding over the next few months.

In addition to the ARRA funding, the DOE has also awarded more than $13 million for new clean energy projects on tribal lands this year. Under the Tribal Energy Program, 36 Native American tribes and Alaskan villages received competitive awards to help develop and deploy a range of clean energy projects that will advance renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in Indian Country. For example, the funding will support projects to expand tribal wind and hydroelectric power generation, improve building and lighting efficiency, and implement new training programs for weatherization workers.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Energy

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