TBL Fund Experts Weigh In: Scaling Clean Energy Projects on Tribal Lands

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By Scott Griffin | Business Development, TBL Fund

Mr. Griffin oversees TBL Fund grant and investment lifecycles. He fosters relationships with investors and grantors alike, helping develop proposals and managing document and information exchange to ensure TBL Fund has the financial resources to further its mission.

Climate change threatens Tribal homelands, food sources, cultural resources, and sacred ways of life. Native communities have faced chronic underinvestment for generations, and climate impacts have exacerbated pre-existing challenges and inequities. Access to affordable electricity remains a matter of life or death for many Native communities on the frontlines of the climate crisis. 

The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) provide a once-in-a-lifetime investment in greening the U.S., and Tribes can play a significant role in the clean energy transition. Tribal lands cover about 5.8% of the country but comprise 6.5% of its potential for large-scale clean energy, according to National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). In capturing this potential, Tribal self-determination and equity are crucial, as is ensuring that tribal members benefit from climate resilience, affordable energy bills, well-paying green jobs, and business opportunities. Tribes across the U.S. are exploring clean energy and energy sovereignty. And thankfully, we’re seeing historic levels of funding specifically for Tribal Nations and Native communities, including $32 billion in the American Rescue Plan, $13 billion in the BIL, and more than $720 million in the IRA.

Triple Bottom Line Foundation (TBL Fund) is thrilled to advance Tribal communities’ goals. It recently received an award under the U.S. Dept. of Energy’s Energizing Rural Communities Prize to support clean energy projects in Tribal communities in New Mexico. This Prize challenges individuals and organizations to develop partnership and financing strategies to support efforts in rural or remote communities to improve their energy systems and advance clean energy demonstration projects. TBL Fund will utilize the Prize funding to support:

  • Solar PV: community and on-site solar projects in various stages of development in seven New Mexico Tribal communities.
  • Energy efficiency and electrification: efficiency and electrification measures, primarily high-efficiency heat pumps, will reduce energy burden and provide cost savings for residents.
  • Energy resilience: combining energy efficiency and renewable energy generation will reduce brownouts and blackouts in the area.
  • Reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions: TBL expects these projects to abate millions of tons of GHG emissions over the lifetime of the equipment.
  • Energy Independence: TBL Fund is collaborating with numerous Tribal Nations to evaluate the viability of forming their own utilities.

TBL Fund is ICAST’s affiliated Community Development Financial Institution. It provides customized financing products, technical assistance, and innovative solutions for green upgrades at multifamily affordable housing and Indigenous communities. It often collaborates with ICAST to help preserve affordable housing, create local jobs, and address climate change. Learn more here.

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