Indian Affairs | Renewable Energy Opportunities

Renewable Energy

Many tribes are located in areas where there are significant renewable energy resources, including woody biomass, biomass waste resources, geothermal, hydroelectric, solar, and wind.  Renewable energy can be developed to meet the tribe’s need for sovereignty, energy independence and diversification, environmental sustainability, to strengthen the tribal economy, or any combination of these topics. 

A great way to create secondary jobs and continue to circulate money locally is by utilizing the power generated from renewable resources for new industries on tribal reservations.  This approach is in contrast to simply exporting power off of the reservation which often yields lower benefits for the tribe.  Baseload power is needed for these project types, which means that the renewable energy resource must be available every hour, every day of the year.  Resources that meet this criteria are woody biomass, biomass waste resources (such as municipal solid waste), geothermal, and hydroelectric.  And while not renewable, natural gas can be used as a clean energy source for powering local industry as well. 


Many Indian reservations are well positioned to provide access to a stable source of competitively priced energy.  For example, of the 326 American Indian reservations, more than 150 have the resource capacity needed to sustain a 1 to 25 megawatt renewable and/or natural gas power generation facility. 

Federally Recognized Tribal Entities should contact DEMD to:

  • Evaluate and confirm your energy resources
  • Conduct feasibility studies
  • Identify business development opportunities

DEMD staff also work closely with tribes on marketing, identifying potential partners, negotiating, accessing capital and more.  We have an experienced staff of engineers, geologists, geophysicists and business development specialists poised to help tribes along the path to sustainable economic development.

DEMD has an annual funding program, the Energy and Mineral Development Program (EMDP) that tribes can apply to for energy and mineral pre-development studies.  To see more information on the EMDP, click here. 

To view our informational brochure on our renewable energy development process, please click here.


Electricity can be created by converting biomass from plants or municipal solid waste.

View the EMDP Grant Writing Guide for Small Scale Biomass Projects


Tribes included here are actively seeking wind development companies and investors.

Crow Wind Cover  Blackfeet Wind Cover  Crow Creek Wind Cover

Wind Atlas Cover   



Producing electricity from water flow creates affordable, renewable energy.



Heat from the earth can be harnessed and used as a heat source, or at high temperatures, electricity can be created. 



Electricity can be created from the sun.


Please see our ‘Building Green Economies on Tribal Lands' Brochure to learn more about the Division’s green initiative.

 Green Jobs Cover