November 1, 2020 - The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs (Office of Indian Energy) has announced a formalized process for Indian tribes and eligible tribal entities to request cost share reductions under the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPACT 2005).
Earlier this month at a roundtable discussion in New Mexico, Deputy Secretary of Energy, Mark W. Menezes announced the Office of Indian Energy had been directed to consider the financial impacts of the COVID-19 global pandemic on Indian tribes and eligible tribal entities, when recommending an expedited determination on cost share reduction requests.
“Native nations’ economies have been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Deputy Secretary Menezes. “As some of the most vulnerable communities in the United States, this pandemic has limited their ability to meet the minimum cost share requirements of EPACT 2005. Our hope is that this formalized and expedited cost share reduction process will provide some relief to those Native communities currently struggling with the financial impacts of COVID-19.”
As authorized under § 988(c)(2) of EPACT 2005, the non-federal cost share requirement may be reduced if determined to be necessary and appropriate. At the direction of the Deputy Secretary, the formalized process allows each tribe or tribal entity to address their unique circumstances, consistent with tribal sovereignty and self-determination.
“The Office of Indian Energy stands ready to facilitate relief through this new process for the Native communities who are struggling as a result of the pandemic,” said Director of the Office of Indian Energy Kevin Frost. “Providing assistance to tribal communities is the mission of this office, and whether that is helping invest in energy technologies, or work through financial challenges to meet their energy needs, the Department’s Office of Indian Energy is here to support tribes.”
The Office of Indian Energy has been helping alleviate the financial burden of Native communities since 2010 by investing more than $85 million in more than 180 tribal energy projects across the contiguous 48 states and Alaska. They provide technical assistance to maximize the deployment of energy solutions for the benefit of American Indians and Alaska Natives which help build the knowledge, skills, and resources needed to implement those energy solutions.
For more information on the process of how eligible entities can request a reduction in cost share, see the Office of Indian Energy website.