Nisqually Tribe CPRG

Priority Climate Action Plan & Climate Pollution Reduction Grant

As a result of the Inflation Reduction Act, in March of 2023 the EPA opened the Climate Pollution Reduction Grant (CPRG) program. This program seeks to provide funding for communities to address environmental injustice, lower energy costs, and reduce pollution, and includes a funding track for tribes and territories. The awards for a single recipient can rank in the millions of dollars.

The Nisqually Indian Tribe is engaged in efforts to protect the environment and secure a sustainable future, including pursuing clean energy projects and creating an environmental plan, which includes goals that align with the CPRG program. They received initial funds to develop plans for reducing GHG emissions and other harmful air pollution in the form of a Priority Climate Action Plan (PCAP). Completion of this plan allows the tribe to apply for larger funding pools that can cover the cost of implementation.

As part of the PCAP, Olympia Community Solar led a greenhouse gas emissions inventory of all tribal-owned buildings. We quantified the benefits of emission reduction measures, and assessed the benefits to low-income and disadvantaged communities. Proposed measures include hiring climate staff, as well as promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy deployment. These priority measures align with goals that the Tribe highlighted in their 2024-2028 environmental plan.

With the PCAP complete, Olympia Community Solar helped write the CPRG application. Through this process, our team helped the tribe apply for over $5.4 million in funding support. 

If awarded, this funding will help the tribe to install over 30 heat pumps, over 660 kW of solar capacity, and incentivize energy efficiency measures for tribal-affiliated buildings on and off the reservation. These would service the Public Safety Building, Youth and Community Center, Tribal Health Services, and Administrative Buildings, as well as 30 rental homes. Altogether, from 2025-2050 these measures would likely prevent 6009.20 metric tons of CO2-equivalent emissions. These reductions in carbon emissions are equivalent to NOT burning 6.4 million pounds of coal.

These projects would directly benefit tribal members, most especially many elders who live in properties that would receive solar panels.  In addition to the direct benefit of energy savings, these projects are expected to improve comfort and health by improving building efficiency, as well as nurturing the overall energy independence and community resilience of the tribe. They could also reduce the emission and pollution from burning fuels like propane, and make large strides in reducing the tribes climate impacts more generally.