Biden administration announces $366 million for rural renewable energy projects


FEBRUARY 28, 2024

The Department of Energy announced more than $350 million for rural renewable energy projects from the bipartisan infrastructure law funds Tuesday.

On a call with reporters, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said the $366 million would be allocated across 17 projects in 20 states and 30 tribal nations. Twelve of the projects are on tribal lands, according to Granholm.

“These projects showcase rural and remote communities [and] innovative approaches to clean energy deployment. They span technologies, they are replicable, they’re scalable, and they include everything from building micro grids for community health centers so they never lose power for lifesaving equipment, medical equipment, to constructing a new hydroelectric facility on tribal lands that’ll offset the need for expensive diesel fuel,” she said.

Wahleah Johns, the director of the department’s Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs, emphasized the value of renewable energy to tribal lands, saying an estimated 17,000 homes in tribal communities lack access to electricity.

“These projects are really significant and helping to provide more energy security for rural and remote communities,” she said. “They are encouraging that energy sovereignty that tribes hold and making sure that you know lights are on for families in different places of Indian country.”

One of the selected projects, for example, will electrify 300 Native Americans’ homes for the first time, Johns said, while other projects will help offset particularly high diesel costs in Alaskan communities.

White House climate adviser Ali Zaidi, meanwhile, tied the efforts to broader White House goals of halving U.S. emissions by 2030. With younger and more progressive voters skeptical of Biden ahead of the 2024 election, Zaidi in particular has repeatedly touted climate and energy progress by the Biden administration, also taking center stage after the administration announced a temporary hold on new export licenses for liquefied natural gas.

Courtesy: The Hill