Navajo Nation to receive funding for energy saving projects along with 12 other communities

A boat moves along Wahweap Bay along the Upper Colorado River Basin, Wednesday, June 9, 2021,...
A boat moves along Wahweap Bay along the Upper Colorado River Basin, Wednesday, June 9, 2021, at the Utah and Arizona border near Wahweap, Ariz. Included in the infrastructure deal that became law last month is $2.5 billion for Native American water rights settlements, which quantify individual tribes’ claims to water and identify infrastructure projects to help deliver it to residents. On the Navajo Nation, the largest reservation in the U.S., the money could fund a settlement reached in 2020 over water in the upper Colorado River basin.(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Published: Mar. 21, 2022 at 11:43 AM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - The U.S. Department of Energy announced Monday about $9 million in funding for 13 American Indian and Alaska Native communities. This funding would supply 14 solar, hydro, and geothermal energy projects and will provide clean electricity to residential power buildings that lack electricity and more.

“Tribal communities are imbued with knowledge and ingenuity around sustainable energy infrastructure, and they are poised to help lead the country as we make an equitable transition to clean,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. Secretary Granholm has invited the leadership of federally recognized Indian tribes and Alaska Native Corporations to a formal consultation session on March 29 to guide the department in developing over 60 new programs and implementing $62.5 billion in funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA).

“For far too long, the needs of tribal families have been placed on Congress’ backburner. But the federal government has treaty and trust obligations to uphold to tribes,” said U.S. Representative Tom O’Halleran. “Since coming to Congress in 2017, I’ve worked to ensure we hold up our end of the bargain and work to expand access to broadband, electricity, clean, running water, and more for families across Indian Country.”

In Kayenta, Arizona, the Navajo Nation Tribal Government-Kayenta Chapter will install solar PV, battery storage, and backup propane generator to provide clean electricity to 24 unpowered homes in the Comb Ridge/El Capitan community. It will also create five full-time temporary positions and three full-time positions for the life of the system. All of this will cost about $1,185,409.

Ultimately, this new project installation will be a part of the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority’s Light Up Navajo, a multi-year electricity installation project that is bringing nearly 15,000 individuals, or 30% of Navajo reservation homes, without electricity within the Navajo nation permanent electric utilities. Electricity connectivity can be a life-saving tool in many underserved communities as it can bring better access to healthcare, Wi-Fi connectivity, improved education, and more. At a national level, approximately 14.2% of all reservation homes are without electricity today.

The other projects include tribal nations located in New Mexico, Indiana, California, Minnesota, Alaska, and Washington.