Rosebud Sioux Tribe Wind Project
Todd County, South Dakota
Location: South-Central South Dakota
Owner: Rosebud Sioux Tribe
Turbines: 750 kW NEG Micon turbine
Online: May 2003
Developer: Rosebud Sioux Tribe
On February 27, 2003, the first utility-scale Native American wind turbine was installed on the Rosebud Sioux Indian Reservation, adjacent to the Tribe’s casino/hotel complex.
Its installation marked the end of eight-years of preparation that began in 1995 when the Rosebud Tribe, the Tribal Utility Commission (TUC) and the Rosebud Casino began measuring the wind resources. The resource proved to be a Class 5/ Class 6 resource.
As many Missouri River basin tribes were seeking reliable energy sources at that time, a coalition of northern Great Plains tribes chartered the Intertribal Council on Utility Policy (ICOUP) to create a common forum for utility policy discussions. ICOUP and the TUC increased their knowledge base by organizing and hosting a series of meetings and conferences to explore the feasibility of wind power and building connections with groups from other states with more wind experience.
In 1998, the Tribe applied to the Department of Energy (DOE) for a cooperative grant of $508,000, half the cost of the turbine they planned to install. Then in 2002, the Rosebud Tribe, working closely with ICOUP and Distributed Generation, Inc., negotiated the first U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Utilities Service loan to a tribe for a commercial wind energy project, securing the second half of the turbine installation costs.
The tribe’s 750 kW NEG Micon turbine produces 2 million kWh per year, more energy than is used by their large casino complex. The Tribe sells the excess power to Basin Electric and to Ellsworth Air Force Base in Rapid City, making it the first time a tribe has sold energy to a federal facility. Associated green tags are purchased by NativeEnergy of Vermont and ultimately sold to residential and business users.
The Rosebud turbine installation was the first phase of a five-phase plan to develop tribal wind resources on the Great Plains, the world's richest wind regime. The incentive for Great Plains tribes to pursue wind power goes beyond the great promise of economic development. Wind is an opportunity for tribes to control their own energy resources and the impact of their energy use. Reservations are seen as permanent homelands for tribal communities and the residents realize that depleting their natural resources such as air, land and water affects the social and physical health of its people.
References and Additional Information: