The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Indian Energy is accepting applications for the third round of Strategic Technical Assistance Response Team (START) Renewable Energy Project Development Assistance. Through START, federally recognized tribal governments and other tribal entities can apply for and are selected to receive on-the-ground support to accelerate clean energy project development.
Eligible applicants include Indian Tribes, Alaska Native regional corporations, and formally organized tribal energy resource development organizations. Applicants designated as White House Climate Action Champions will also benefit from START Program assistance and will be given preferential consideration. Up to five projects will be selected.
Since its launch in December 2011, the START Program has helped 21 tribal communities advance their clean energy technology and infrastructure projects — from solar and wind to biofuels and energy efficiency.
“Through the START Program we were able to access expertise to help with site selection, facility design, cost estimation, energy production estimation, and procurement. The program was very flexible, providing expertise in different areas as project needs changed,” said James Jensen of Southern Ute Alternative Energy, LLC.
START supports renewable energy projects by providing tribal project teams with technical expertise and unbiased guidance from DOE and national laboratory experts on:
- Verifying economic and technical viability of a project’s power and revenue generation
- Developing a communications and outreach strategy, such as developing a strategic communications plan to support the tribal project team in communicating the costs and benefits of the project to the broader tribal community and other stakeholders
- Establishing terms and strategies for negotiating land-lease, energy off-take, and/or power purchase agreements
- Selecting project ownership options, partnership arrangements, and financing structures
- Developing requests for proposals with appropriate technical guidelines and selection criteria
- Developing operations and maintenance or measurement and verification plans.
“DOE’s resource assessment and market context provided a surprising assessment of the Community’s solar resources, said Nathan Karman of Forest County Potawatomi Community. “Seeing the solar resource information renewed an interest in pursuing solar projects on the reservation.”
Applications for START are due May 1, 2015. Projects will be selected by June and technical assistance will be provided from July 2015 through August 2016. Learn more and apply for START.