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Energy department now accepting applications for START, round 2

As part of the Obama Administration’s efforts to help Tribal communities across the country enhance their energy security and build a sustainable energy future, the Energy Department has announced the second round of the Strategic Technical Assistance Response Team (START) Program. Federally recognized Tribal governments can receive technical assistance to accelerate clean energy project deployment from this program. The Energy Department also plans to seek information from tribes interested in launching or expanding utility services in their own communities, which will help establish a new START Utility Program (START-UP).

The new technical assistance opportunities will strengthen the nation’s partnership with tribal communities, create good jobs and protect the planet, stated Office of Indian Energy Director Tracey LeBeau. “Working side by side with tribal energy leaders across the country, we are making sure Native American and Alaska Native Tribes have the tools and resources they need to foster economic competitiveness and promote tribal self-sufficiency,” she said.

Over the past year, the START Program helped nine tribal communities advance their clean energy technology and infrastructure projects, from solar and wind to biofuels and energy efficiency. In the current round of START projects, energy experts from the Energy Department’s national laboratories and other Federal agencies worked with tribal leaders to develop strategic community energy plans, conduct market research and identify financing mechanisms to support cost-effective renewable energy project development.

The next round of technical assistance awards will build upon the program’s initial successes. Native communities will receive further help increasing local generation capacity, enhancing energy-efficiency measures and creating local entrepreneurial and job opportunities. In the contiguous United States, awards will support tribes developing community-scale clean energy projects across the country. Alaska’s Denali Commission and Energy Department experts will help rural Alaska Native communities conduct energy awareness and training programs, and pursue new renewable energy and energy-efficiency opportunities.

Visit the Energy Department’s Office of Indian Energy website to learn more about the START Program and application requirements. Applications are due by March 15, 2013.

New program for tribal utility planning

To support affordable and reliable electrical service to Indian lands and tribal communities, the Energy Department is launching a new tribal START Utility Program (START-UP). Expanding on the current START Program, START-UP will help tribes across the country develop their own utility services and increase ownership of local energy assets.

In an effort to tailor the program to the needs of Indian Country, the Department plans to gather information and public comment from tribes interested in developing, acquiring or expanding utility services in their own communities. Check the Office of Indian Energy website in the coming weeks for more details on this outreach. Source: DOE Office of Indian Energy, 1/29/13