The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Indian Energy is currently accepting applications for the third round of the Alaska Strategic Technical Assistance Response Team (START) Program. A competitive technical assistance program that assists Alaska Native corporations and federally recognized Alaska Native governments with accelerating clean energy projects, Alaska START is aimed at achieving the following goals:
- Reducing the cost and use of energy for rural Alaska consumers and communities
- Increasing local capacity, energy efficiency, and conservation through training and public education
- Increasing renewable energy deployment and financing opportunities for communities and utilities.
Through Alaska START, DOE and the Denali Commission, along with DOE’s national laboratories and other local and national experts, will assist rural Alaska Native communities in developing strategic energy plans to help mitigate climate change, conducting energy awareness and training programs, and pursuing new renewable energy and energy efficiency opportunities.
“Alaska Native communities are dealing with the impacts of climate change, such as coastal and river flooding and erosion, in real time,” said Joel Neimeyer of the Denali Commission. “These challenges are compounded by the tripling of fuel and electrical costs rural Alaska has experienced in the past decade. The START Program has strengthened our ability to respond to the critical infrastructure needs of these communities. We look forward to continuing to partner with the DOE Office of Indian Energy to support Alaska Native villages and corporations in implementing innovative, sustainable solutions to the urgent energy, economic, and environmental challenges they face.”
Since its launch in December 2011, the START Program has helped 11 Alaska Native communities to Image of a building under construction.advance their clean energy technology and infrastructure projects. One example is Minto, a small Alaska Native village 126 miles northwest of Fairbanks that was grappling with fuel and electricity costs exceeding $75,000 annually to run its Lakeview Lodge. Through the Alaska START Program, Minto received assistance with prioritizing energy efficiency improvements and successfully applying for grants to make much-needed weatherization upgrades to the building, which is used daily for school and senior lunch programs, community meetings, and village council operations. The changes are projected to result in at least a 30% improvement in energy efficiency once the project is complete.
Alaska Native village and village corporations interested in applying for this technical assistance opportunity will be selected based on their ability to demonstrate achievable energy or cost savings, implement renewable energy or energy efficiency project(s), develop an energy roadmap and establish an energy goal, ensure commitment from community leadership, participate in Energy Department- or other agency-sponsored technical assistance, trainings, or workshops, and identify a local climate action energy champion.