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Energy Department to Fund Rural, Remote Energy Projects

The Department of Energy will award $366 million to energy projects in rural and remote areas, it announced Tuesday, according to POLITICO Pro (subscription).

What’s going on: “The 17 projects selected by DOE so far to receive the money will serve 20 states and 30 tribal nations and communities.”

  • The DOE’s Energy Improvements in Rural or Remote Areas program got $1 billion from the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law “to support energy systems in communities with 10,000 or fewer people.”
  • Upgrades will encompass solar and battery storage, microgrids, electric vehicle charging, heat pumps and more.

What’s in it: Chosen projects include the renovation of a 70-year-old dam in Alaska as well as the addition of a 2.1-megawatt-hour hydroelectric facility to that site, the installation in Arizona, Utah and New Mexico Hopi and Navajo communities of 2.5 kilowatt hours of off-grid solar and battery storage systems and the installation of whole-home ducted heat pumps in 675 rural Maine mobile homes.

Why it’s important: “[R]oughly 17,000 tribal homes have no access to electricity, affecting more than 54,000 people. Of the electrified homes within tribal communities, 31 percent report monthly outages,” according to the DOE’s Office of Indian Energy, POLITICO Pro reports.

Up next: The DOE and selected projects will “undergo a negotiation process” prior to the issuance of funds.  

Our view: “The NAM supports reliable, affordable energy for all Americans,” said NAM Director of Domestic Policy Michael Davin. “This is a step in the right direction to get funding out to communities that need it to ensure they can power their growth.”

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