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Department of Energy Announces Tribal Grant Relief Due to COVID-19

BROWNING, MT – Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Deputy Secretary Mark W. Menezes announced the reduction of cost share obligations for financial assistance awards for Tribes and tribal communities struggling from the financial impacts of COVID-19. The Deputy Secretary made determinations on 28 cost-share reduction requests for pending or existing awards totaling more than $15.5 million in relief to Tribes or tribal entities across the contiguous 48 states and Alaska.

The Deputy Secretary also made determinations on requests from 20 potential applicants for Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs (Office of Indian Energy) open Funding Opportunity Announcements totaling $5.6 million if selected and awarded, for a total of more than $21 million in relief. Additional pending determinations on requested reductions will further increase the total relief provided.

Deputy Secretary Menezes travelled to Montana and met with leaders of the Blackfeet Tribal Nation to announce a cost share reduction for their project, the installation of photovoltaic panels on four buildings at the Blackfeet Community College campus. Deputy Secretary Menezes met with Blackfeet Nation Chairman Timothy Davis, Blackfeet Community College President Dr. Karla Bird, and members of the Blackfeet Tribal Council to announce the cost share reduction for the pending award for the project on the Blackfeet Nation reservation.

“I am pleased to announce the reduction in the required cost share from 50 percent to 10 percent for the Blackfeet Community College pending award,” said Deputy Secretary Menezes. “This reduction will offer relief to the Blackfeet Community College that has suffered a significant financial loss due to COVID-19. Additionally, I am announcing DOE has approved 48 cost share reduction requests for Tribes and tribal entities like the Blackfeet Tribe, suffering financial hardship due to COVID-19. This action came in response to direction from Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette, to find ways to provide assistance to Tribes and tribal entities eligible for Office of Indian Energy financial assistance awards.” 

“Today’s announcement by Deputy Secretary Menenzes is welcome news for the Blackfeet Tribal Nation and the Blackfeet Community College,” said Acting Under Secretary of Energy Steve Winberg. “Tribes across the country – from Alaska to Florida – have applied for and received cost share reductions for important energy projects. And every tribe that applied to the Department for relief to offset the financial impacts of COVID-19 will receive some level of cost share reduction. So, I applaud the Deputy Secretary’s announcement and the Department’s commitment to helping Tribal Nations meet their energy needs.”

“The action by the Secretary and guiding leadership by the Deputy Secretary to execute meaningful cost share reductions helps mitigate the real life impacts of COVID-19,” said Kevin Frost, Director of the Office of Indian Energy. “Every dollar saved allows Indian Country the flexibility to repurpose their project cost savings to meet their most critical needs and will continue to maximize the development and deployment of energy solutions for the benefit of American Indians and Alaska Natives.”

The Office of Indian Energy provides financial assistance, technical assistance, and education and information to Indian Country to enable them to tap their vast unharnessed energy resources to achieve their energy goals, whatever those may be. Specifically, between 2010 and 2019, the DOE Office of Indian Energy invested nearly $85 million in more than 180 tribal energy projects implemented across the contiguous 48 states and Alaska. These projects, valued at over $180 million, are leveraged by over $95 million in recipient cost share.



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