Kilmer, U.S. Department of Energy Announce New Support for Makah Tribe and Bainbridge Island to Ensure Affordable, Reliable, and Clean Energy

Communities Will Partner with DOE Experts, National Labs, and Regional Organizations to Accelerate Access to Clean Power, Help Lower Energy Costs, and Increase Resilience

Washington, DCToday, U.S. Representative Derek Kilmer (WA-06) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced that the DOE will work the Makah Tribe and Bainbridge Island to help strengthen local energy infrastructure, reduce the risk of outages, and improve their future energy and economic outlook.

Through the Energy Transitions Initiative Partnership Project (ETIPP), the DOE and its national and regional partners will support projects in communities that, due to their geographic isolation, often face high energy costs and vulnerable energy infrastructure due to their increased risk of natural disasters and climate change. Twelve communities around the United States were selected – including the Makah Tribe and Bainbridge Island.

“Communities across our region often face challenges accessing the resources and technical expertise they need as they work to ensure affordable, reliable, and clean power. That’s particularly true for Tribal communities, rural communities, and island communities. That’s why I’m so excited that the Makah Tribe and Bainbridge Island have been selected to receive help from the Department of Energy,” said Rep. Kilmer. “These communities will be able to lean on our terrific National Labs and other resources to make a transition to clean energy and lower costs for consumers.”

“As climate change intensifies, remote and island communities, which experience higher energy costs and may lack the financial resources and expertise to make their energy systems more resilient, are more at risk to extreme weather events,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “DOE will connect 12 more communities with our world-renowned National Labs to execute strategic and locally-tailored clean energy and resilience solutions, driving the nation’s equitable transition to a net-zero economy.” 

On Bainbridge Island, ETIPP will assist in analyzing the feasibility of renewable energy options like solar and water power to move the city toward its goal of 100% renewable electricity by 2040. This project will help the island residents understand the benefits and challenges of energy resilience solutions such as community solar and residential-scale battery storage.

ETIPP assistance to the Makah Tribe will go toward assessing the opportunities and challenges associated with integrating renewable energy into critical infrastructure relocation planning and increasing their ability to generate their own power. The project will be focused on deeper community engagement by helping Makah Tribe staff communicate renewable energy options to community members and integrate their priorities, perspective, and knowledge into its planning.

According to DOE, ETIPP will leverage the expertise of DOE's experts and National Labs to advance local clean energy solutions and improve resilience for the 12 selected communities, including the Makah Tribe and Bainbridge Island.

ETIPP employs local community leaders, residents, and organizations for a community-led and inclusive approach by identifying the energy challenges of each community and providing strategic assistance to help them determine and direct their energy transition. The aims of ETIPP further support the Biden-Administration's goal of ensuring an equitable transition to a carbon-pollution free future. Watch this video to learn more about the ETIPP program. 

Six regional organizations—Alaska Center for Energy and Power, Coastal Studies Institute, Hawaii Natural Energy Institute, Island Institute, Renewable Energy Alaska Project, and Spark Northwest—will help the 12 selected communities prioritize their energy resilience needs and communicate results throughout their projects. Experts from DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and Sandia National Laboratories will work alongside communities to conduct technical activities that help decision makers plan resilient upgrades to their energy systems.  

Started in 2021, ETIPP’s first participants were composed of 11 communities from Alaska, Hawaii, Maine, and North Carolina. Read about all ETIPP community projects

These ETIPP projects are funded by the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

For more information, visit the ETIPP website.