When one thinks of late of federal dollars handed out for clean energy projects and related initiatives, the big loan guarantees from the U.S. Department of Energy typically jump to mind. That’s not always the case however – case in point is the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs (OIA), which recently awarded $2 million in funding to several U.S. territories to help out in alternative, renewable and energy efficiency initiatives.
The OIA said the funds allocated will go specifically to projects in American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) and Guam. Assistant Department of the Interior Secretary Tony Babauta, in a statement, noted that back in March 2010 the OIA kicked off a program for each of the American insular areas that developed “a comprehensive energy plan.”
In American Samoa, which garnered $600,000, the funding is helping the territory’s power authority “install energy saver compact fluorescent bulbs” in consumers’ homes, as well as starting a recycling rebate program and “the installation of prepaid electricity meters for homes in Tutuila and the remote islands. The prepaid program permits consumers to buy certain units of power by making an advance payment.”
CNMI, with its $500,000, is looking into geothermal gradient drilling and additional support to facilitate the initiation of a geophysical assessment to better determine the extent of geothermal resources available in the area. And Guam, which got $900,000, is putting its funding towards a new campaign to reduce energy consumption at the University of Guam by 2-5 percent. Through the school’s Center for Island Sustainability, the institution anticipates the installation of wind turbines and rooftop solar arrays to meet their energy efficiency goals.