Empowering The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe through Wind Energy

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe (SRST) reservation straddles North and South Dakota, one of the most productive wind energy corridors in North America. In an industry where wind capacity factors (i.e. the amount of the day that the wind blows and electricity can be generated and sold) are historically 30% to 40%, the wind capacity factors have been measured at between 50% and 58% in many areas, making it very attractive for developers.

SRST feels a strong desire to control development on its reservation to provide for the long-term best interests of its population. It has successfully developed community scale renewable energy projects in the past. Now, SRST and the SAGE Development Authority have created the Anpetu Wi wind farm. This is the first utility scale, public power, wind project that will produce energy for export into other more densely populated states.  SRST’s long-range strategic goals are for Anpetu Wi to double (2x) recurring revenue and provide employment opportunities for its members, particularly its young people when it comes online in 2023. The official press release on the project’s crowdfunding campaign with the hashtag, #SayYesToWind is below:

SAGE Development Authority Launches Crowdfunding Initiative Seeking Critical Support for New 235-Megawatt Wind Farm to Benefit the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe

Project Will Utilize Renewable Energy Resources to Advance Economic Development for a Tribal Nation and Provide a Replicable Model for Other Native Communities

 Fort Yates, N.D., August 19, 2020 — SAGE Development Authority, the first public power authority owned by a single Native nation in the United States, announced the launch of a new crowdfunding initiative — www.anpetuwi.com — marking the next phase of development for its 235-megawatt wind farm named Anpetu Wi. The wind farm will be located on the Standing Rock Reservation, outside of Fort Yates, N.D., home to the Lakota & Dakota people of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe (SRST). The project represents a community development model to produce renewable energy that offers a path toward self-determination and sovereignty for Standing Rock and other Native nations. No tribally-owned public power project in the U.S. has achieved this level of development to date for a utility-scale wind farm.

SAGE, which stands for Strategic, Advancement, Goals, and the Environment, is charged with leading Standing Rock’s efforts at developing renewable energy resources for economic development. Anpetu Wi (meaning “morning light of the sun” in the Lakota language) will be an enduring revenue source for SRST and will support Standing Rock in providing essential needs such as schools, roads, health care, and housing development. The Reservation, located in North and South Dakota, has a poverty rate of 40 percent and an unemployment rate of 70 percent, underscoring the need for the revenue provided by the project. “Developing renewable energy resources—for export as well as local consumption—will foster badly needed economic development on the Reservation and provide employment and skills training,” says Fawn Wasin Zi, SAGE Board Chair. “We believe the new website will help people understand who we are, what we stand for, and serve as a critical vehicle to enlist people to help us make lasting change.”

The launch of the new crowdfunding initiative at www.anpetuwi.com, which aims to raise $1.5 million, is the next step toward achieving the building of Anpetu Wi. It follows the milestone of SAGE submitting its application for interconnection to the Southwest Power Pool. Nearly $2 million has already been raised to date from nine different philanthropic foundations for pre-development work to establish SAGE, which will also take advantage of the enhanced market economics that come with qualification for the 2020 Federal Production Tax Credit.

“We are proud to achieve another milestone in our quest to create a model for self-determination and economic development not only for our people but for all Native communities,” says Joseph McNeil Jr., General Manager of SAGE. “For our people and me, this project is a prayer. It allows us something to leave behind for future generations of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and reflects our cultural values by prioritizing people, land, and nature over profit. Our model certainly includes investors, but also allows us to benefit directly from its revenue for hundreds of years to come.”

Foundation partners include The Wallace Global Fund, The Sierra Club Foundation, The JPB Foundation, The Seventh Generation Fund for Indigenous Peoples, Tamalpais Trust, The Cedar Tree Foundation, The Christensen Fund, and a generous anonymous donor. SRST has become internationally recognized for its leadership in the non-violent protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline (#NoDAPL), which poses a threat to drinking water for Standing Rock and millions of others who depend on the Missouri River for clean water. The movement reaffirmed SRST’s and SAGE’s commitment to fight climate change and bring enhanced awareness to the cultural values of its people by providing renewable energy resources in accordance with Natural Law, which achieves balance by not allowing any one force to dominate or to take beyond their own need from nature.

SAGE has a goal of existing for 500 or more years following the philosophy that the decisions we make today should result in a sustainable world for at least seven generations. SAGE is now one of the country’s 2,000 public power authorities, and 885 of these have been in business serving their communities for 100 years or more. SAGE is working in partnership with special advisors LIATI Capital, LLC, Connexus Capital LLC, and Hometown Connections, Inc., which offer technical, financial, and general institutional support, with the express purpose of helping realize this goal.

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Media Contact:

Crystal Hermond, Powell Mayas crystal@powellmayas.com

About SAGE Development Authority: A federally chartered Section 17 Corporation approved by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior, SAGE is one of 2,000 public power authorities in the United States owned by a municipal, federal or tribal government that is in the business of providing electricity. SAGE was created by and for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North and South Dakota. Charged with leading Standing Rock’s development of renewable energy resources for economic development on the Reservation, the company controls and operates the energy production assets within the Reservation, facilitates agreements with third-party entities, and holds Standing Rock’s equity interest. SAGE is governed by a women-led Board of Directors, consisting solely of enrolled tribal members appointed by the Tribal Council. SAGE is a member of the American Public Power Association, Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance, and the American Wind Energy Association. The company’s first project is a 235-megawatt wind farm named Anpetu Wi.

About the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe: Located in North and South Dakota, Standing Rock has a population of approximately 8,000 tribal members within its borders and comprises an area just smaller than the state of Connecticut. The people of Standing Rock, are members of the Dakota and Lakota nations and have lived on these lands for thousands of years. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has become internationally recognized for its leadership in the non-violent protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), which poses a threat to drinking water for Standing Rock and millions of others who depend on the Missouri River for clean water. The #noDAPL protest served to raise awareness of the negative impact that fossil fuel infrastructure development has caused to the environment. In the aftermath of this movement, SRST is committed to sustainable energy and institution building within Standing Rock to ensure it is increasingly self-reliant in its present and future energy needs.