Extended grid infrastructure grant deadline encourages more Native Nations to apply


The Department of Energy (DOE) announced that the Grid Deployment Office (GDO) is extending applications for its Grid Resilience State and Tribal Formula Grants program to August 31. This addendum applies to Native American Nations and Alaska Native Corporations. 

The decision was made in response to updated disaster data. This new information increased grant allocations for 243 tribes to better account for the probability of climate-related disruptions on native land. 

The program is funded through section 40101 of The Administration’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. It provides awardees with capital to construct and renovate power grids better able to accommodate extreme weather and natural disasters resulting from climate change. This includes ensuring communities have continuous access to affordable reliable and green electricity. 

Allocation of funds to states and territories, in addition to Native American Tribes as well as Alaska Native Regional and Village Corporations, is based on population density land area likelihood of disruptive events and the locality’s historical expenditures on mitigation efforts. Those that receive funding must distribute investments among a diverse set of projects. 

Stakeholders are encouraged to prioritize financing developments that generate the most significant community benefit, in line with President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda. Andy Sendy, founder and president of SolarReviews.com, suggests that aligning state and local policy with the Biden Administration’s agenda is one way to ensure continued domestic investments in infrastructure that uses renewables to power an equitable economy. 

To date, GDO has awarded 28 states 24 tribal entities one territory and the District of Columbia a combined total of $455.05 million. As of last week, California and Texas have received the highest funding at $67 and $60 million, respectively. The Galena Village (Louden Village) and Chalkyitsik Village Tribes in Alaska were awarded the lowest at $112,894 and $112,439

California will invest in reducing the frequency and duration of power outages. It will ensure that clean energy infrastructure is accessible to all residents, prioritizing safety and affordability so those in historically disadvantaged communities also get their energy needs met.

In Chalkyitsik Village, stakeholders will invest in decreasing the number of power outages and improving emergency response services after severe weather events. The funds will also be allocated toward developing battery energy storage systems while providing low-income tribal members access to affordable and reliable clean energy.

Louden Village will also allocate funds toward building and maintaining a reliable green-energy grid. Community members will research alternative backup power storage methods and advance partnerships with utilities to develop clean energy. 

Allocating funds toward researching energy storage systems can help to increase clean energy jobs, which the DOE suggests grew by 4% between 2021 and 2022.  

In response to feedback from Tribes, Native Nations and Alaska Native Corporations are now eligible to submit a single application as a Tribal Consortium. GDO will assist Tribes in modifying a submitted application if they wish to join a Tribal consortium. The grants are non-competitive.

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