U. S. Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham announced that the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy is making $2.2 million available to seven Native American tribes to support the development of renewable energy resources on tribal lands.Golden, Colorado – August 11, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] “Native American tribal lands offer promising opportunities for renewable energy growth in this country; and reliable, affordable energy supplies are critical to tribal self-sufficiency,” said Abraham. “With these awards, the Department of Energy is helping accomplish two very important goals: supporting economic development among Native Americans while helping our nation enhance its energy security.” Among those receiving awards are the Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of the Fort Peck Reservation in Poplar, Montana. The tribes’ unemployment rate stands at 76 percent; and the reservation’s high electric rates play a significant role in inhibiting economic development. By developing their wind resources, the tribes hope to increase opportunities for employment and education. Under this cost-shared development project, the tribe will buy, install and operate a 660-kilowatt wind turbine. The estimated 2,000,000 kilowatts of power generated by the turbine will be distributed between the Tribal Building, Fort Peck Community College, and Assiniboine & Sioux Tribal Industries. The resulting $134,000 in annual savings from reduced electricity bills will help establish a Senior Citizens Kitchen to feed 65 to 85 elders a day and finance an educational training and certification program. Electricity sales from the project will help maintain the turbine, improve existing electricity infrastructure, and upgrade the energy efficiency of tribal buildings. Other projects to receive DOE funding include: – Rosebud Sioux Tribe (Rosebud, South Dakota) — The Rosebud Sioux Tribe will begin development of a 30-megawatt wind energy project. The tribe will sell the electricity to provide economic benefits to the Tribe and the create jobs for tribal members. – Northern Cheyenne Tribe (Lame Deer, Montana) — The Northern Cheyenne Tribe will conduct pre-construction activities for a 30-megawatt wind facility. Activities will include permitting, avian and cultural assessments, and transmission and interconnection studies needed to obtain financing and power purchase agreements. – Native Village of Venetie Tribal Government (Northeast Alaska) — The villages of Venetie and Arctic, located above the Arctic Circle in northeast Alaska, will study the feasibility of powering of an entire village using solar energy. Solar power would replace diesel generation for most of the summertime, yielding economic, environmental and social benefits for the tribe. – Makah Indian Nation (Neah Bay, Washington) — The Makah Nation, located on the northwestern tip of the Olympic Peninsula, will complete the pre-development tasks for a 30-megawatt wind project and associated infrastructure. – Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians (Red Lake, Minnesota) — The Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians will assess the potential to expand the use of biomass resources for energy autonomy and economic development on tribal lands. The tribe will evaluate the technical, market, financial and cultural aspects of using tribal forestlands to create a sustainable bioproducts-based business. – Fort Mojave Tribe (Mohave Valley, Arizona) — The Fort Mojave Tribe needs more energy supplies to support continued growth in several successful economic development projects the tribe undertook in the last decade. The tribe will investigate the feasibility and desirability of producing power from renewable energy sources such as wind, biomass, and solar.