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Assistant Secretary Washburn Announces Grant Awards for Funding of Low-Cost Clean Power Projects in Indian Country 

September 9, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. –Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs Kevin K. Washburn today announced the Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development (IEED) awarded over $5 million to 34 tribal projects that will assist in the development of energy and mineral resources on tribal lands. The awards include funding for renewable hydroelectric projects that will provide low-cost clean power to tribal members and other customers, and help to expand tribal economies by opening new business opportunities.


“Economic development is crucial to addressing the challenges on Indian reservations, including joblessness, substance abuse and even suicide,” Washburn said. “These grants assist tribes in realizing and maximizing the potential of their energy and mineral resources. They provide financial support for locating and evaluating energy and mineral assets, and eventually bringing them to market.”


Through the Energy and Mineral Development Program (EMDP), IEED’s Division of Energy and Mineral Development (DEMD) awards annual funding to assist tribes and American Indian allottees with evaluating energy and mineral resource potential on their lands. Tribes use this information to determine whether or not they wish to develop energy projects or extract and market commercially or strategically valuable minerals.


Earlier today, Washburn also announced $1.5 million in grant funding under IEED’s Tribal Energy Development Capacity (TEDC) grant program, which assists tribes, Alaska Native corporations and tribal energy resource development organizations with obtaining the technical and regulatory capacity needed to develop energy resources and to properly account for energy resource production and revenues, as provided for under Title V of the Energy Policy Act.


DEMD solicits proposals from tribes and, through a competitive review process, selects qualified projects for funding. The program’s grant amounts are dependent upon appropriations. The projects announced today were selected from among 54 EMDP applications submitted during the FY 2015 funding cycle.


According to the Department of the Interior’s Economic Contributions Report released on July 11, 2014, energy and mineral development has the second highest economic impact in Indian Country. In 2013, energy and mineral development contributed $17 billion to Indian Country economies, more than 91 percent of the total economic impact from development of natural resources in Indian Country. In the same year, energy and mineral development supported over 67,000 jobs, more than 83 percent of the natural resource jobs in Indian Country.


The 2015 EMDP grant awardees by tribe name, award amount and purpose are:


• Arapahoe Tribe of the Wind River Reservation ($75,000) – For a feasibility study on marketing solar power.

• Big Sandy Rancheria of Western Mono Indians of California ($46,250) – For a photovoltaic solar feasibility study.

• Big Sandy Rancheria of Western Mono Indians of California ($50,375) – For a biofuel energy feasibility study.

• Big Valley Band of Pomo Indians of the Big Valley Rancheria, ($150,000) – For a biomass resource assessment with community solar and micro-grid feasibility study.

• Cahuilla Band of Mission Indians of the Cahuilla Reservation, ($50,000) – For a biomass renewable energy feasibility study.

• Cherokee Nation ($1,523,600) – For a W.D. Mayo Lock & Dam #14 Hydroelectric Project Phase VI feasibility study.

• Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon ($580,000) – For a Phase Two assessment of the Warm Spring geothermal system.

• Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana ($70,125) – For an alternative energy feasibility study.

• Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians ($318,220) – For a demonstration project proposal to expand study of municipal solid waste, wood compost and tires, and create enough base oil to run several vehicles over three to four months.

• Fort McDermitt Paiute and Shoshone Tribes of the Fort McDermitt Indian Reservation ($18,100) – For a mineral assessment, feasibility study, business plan, and plan of operations and environmental assessment for a sand, gravel and rock operation.

• Hualapai Indian Tribe of the Hualapai Indian Reservation, ($16,052) – For a flagstone assessment.

• Klamath Tribes ($118,500) – For an inventory of available land and pre-development studies for two large solar installations.

• Klamath Tribes ($113,832) – For an inventory and market assessment for the development of tribal timber and woody biomass resources.

• Metlakatla Indian Community, Annette Island Reserve ($55,000) – For a detailed assessment of economic risks and financial viability of the Metlakatla-Ketchikan electrical Intertie.

• Metlakatla Indian Community, Annette Island Reserve ($135,000) – For the Metlakatla Indian Community Solid Water and Waste-to-Energy Plan Phase II.

• Metlakatla Indian Community, Annette Island Reserve ($20,000) – For a market study on the flavored water market and best use of a water bottle processing plant location.

• Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians ($95,000) – For a biomass pellet mill development plan - Phase II.

• Mooretown Rancheria of Maidu Indians of California ($290,800) – For the next phases of an existing renewable energy project.

• Navajo Nation ($50,000) – For the evaluation of helium projects defined in the multiyear Navajo Nation project to access the hydrocarbon potential and other economic resources on Navajo Nation lands.

• Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah ($32,995) – For the Kanosh Photovoltaic Solar Power Facility.

• Passamaquoddy Tribe - Indian Township ($75,000) – For a biomass pellet mill feasibility study.

• Passamaquoddy Tribe - Pleasant Point ($141,657) – For analysis of the Tribe's bio-mass resource and inventory of tribal trust land to determine the location of a facility to produce a bio-fuel and secondary products.

• Pueblo of Cochiti ($50,000) – For the evaluation of financing and development options for a small community-scale photovoltaic solar plant.

• Pueblo of Jemez ($263,250) – For a high-performance adobe assessment

• Pueblo of Picuris ($61,200) – For a renewable energy planning proposal of a community scale 1 MW solar array.

• Pueblo of Zia ($65,000) – For a distributed generation solar/micro-grid project evaluation.

• Rincon Band of Luiseno Mission Indians of the Rincon Reservation, ($48,136) – For a mineral resource assessment of newly acquired tribal lands.

• Seneca Nation of Indians ($30,000) – For a natural gas assessment: development potential and economic model for the Allegany Territory.

• Shoshone-Paiute Tribes of the Duck Valley Reservation ($30,290) – For an aggregate resource evaluation.

• Standing Rock Sioux Tribe of North & South Dakota ($70,125) – For an evaluation of wind- and solar energy-powered telecommunications towers with battery backup.

• Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians of California ($70,000) – For a distributed generation solar/micro-grid project evaluation.

• Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah & Ouray Reservation, ($154,000) – For a hydropower feasibility assessment of the Tribe's water resources.

• Walker River Paiute Tribe of the Walker River Reservation ($200,000) – For a geothermal exploration.

• Yavapai-Apache Nation of the Camp Verde Indian Reservation ($69,850) – For a specialty aggregate, potential business alliance, and asphalt plant study and assessment.


The Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs oversees the Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development, which implements the Indian Energy Resource Development Program under Title V of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. IEED’s mission is to foster stronger American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities by helping federally recognized tribes develop their renewable and nonrenewable energy and mineral resources; increasing access to capital for tribal and individual American Indian- and Alaska Native-owned businesses; assisting tribes in building the legal infrastructure necessary for their economic progress; and enabling tribally and individual AI/AN-owned businesses to take advantage of government and private sector procurement opportunities.


For more information about IEED programs and services, visit the Indian Affairs website at