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Tribal Energy Financing Program

Tribal Energy Financing Program

Full Title: Tribal Energy Financing Program: Solar-Plus-Storage and Microgrid Projects for High Load Facilities are Great Candidates for the Loan Programs Office Tribal Energy Finance Program
Author(s): Jennifer Lerch, Paul Dearhouse, Charles Snow, and Emeka Obikwelu
Publisher(s): U.S. DOE and Loan Programs Office (LPO)
Publication Date: June 4, 2024
Full Text: Download Resource
Description (excerpt):

The Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Loan Programs Office (LPO) recently announced its first conditional commitment under the Tribal Energy Financing Program (TEFP) for a loan guarantee of up to $72.8 million for the development of a solar-plus-long-duration energy storage microgrid on the Tribal lands of the Viejas Band of the Kumeyaay Indians near Alpine, California. The Viejas Microgrid project will provide the Viejas Band with reliable utility-scale renewable energy generation and storage infrastructure through the installation of a 15 MW photovoltaic solar generation system and a 38 MWh battery long-duration energy storage system. The project developer, Indian Energy, is a 100% Native American owned energy development firm. The borrower, IE VEM Managing Member LLC, is a Tribal energy development organization (TEDO) owned by Indian Energy.

Power generated by microgrids can be used to help operate various high-load centers—including gaming, hospitality, and retail facilities—which use a lot of electricity. By generating and storing electricity nearer to where it is being used, microgrids can make high-load centers more resilient because they are not solely dependent on the electric grid. Facilities with high loads are great candidates for the TEFP, as low-cost debt financing can help Tribes reduce the cost of decarbonization and achieve Tribal energy sovereignty.

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