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Rosebud Sioux Tribe - 2010 Project

Project Overview
Tribe/Awardee: Rosebud Sioux Tribe
Location: Rosebud, SD
Project Title: North Antelope Highlands Wind Development Project
Type of Application: Development
DOE Grant Number: DE-EE0002505
Project Amounts:
DOE: $1,500,000
Awardee: $1,500,000
Total: $3,000,000
Project Status: See project status
Project Period
of Performance:
Start: July 2010
End: December 2012


The Rosebud Sioux Tribe (RST) and Citizens Wind will complete the required pre-construction activities necessary to secure funding for the proposed 190 MW North Antelope Highlands wind farm, including identification of power purchasers, National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) permitting requirements, transmission and interconnection studies, and subsequent interconnection agreements required to deliver energy to a specific set of potential purchasers. This project will result in delivery of all required environmental and cultural studies, permits and contracts sufficient to secure project financing.

Project Description


Since the late 1990s, the tribe has been actively pursuing wind development on the Rosebud Reservation. In March 2003, the Rosebud Sioux Tribe commissioned a single 750 kW NEGMicon Vestas wind turbine, which has come to be known as the Little Soldier (Akicita Cikala) turbine, in respect to the vision of Alex "Little Soldier" Lunderman and his contribution to this effort. This turbine was the result of a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) grant awarded in late 1999, along with a matching U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Utilities Service Loan. With the assistance of a developer and the Intertribal Council on Utility Policy (ICOUP), the RST applied for and received a DOE grant to develop a 30 MW wind farm. This resulted in the development of the Owl Feather War Bonnet Wind Farm. After five years, this wind farm's development is almost complete, with the exception of a signed power purchase agreement (PPA) and the resulting interconnection agreement. This signed agreement will enable the completion of the wind farm. The RST shall act as a passive landowner, reaping a percentage of gross receipts based on Grant of Use and Lease Agreement agreed upon by action of the RST Tribal Council and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Realizing the potential of wind development to bring about tribal economic development, the tribe has continued to pursue wind development with the installation of two other Met Towers in 2003 and one other in 2005 in different locations on the reservation. Furthermore, in the fall of 2007, the RST issued a request for proposals (RFP) to develop a 100 MW wind farm on the highlands north of Antelope/Mission, South Dakota. Consequently, in the fall of 2008, the RST Council began developing, in earnest, as much as 200 MW of wind power on reservation lands identified. It has erected two more Met Towers on lands identified in the North Antelope highlands to correlate data with the existing RST Met Tower for the development of the 190 MW North Antelope wind farm.

In 2008, all wind development was redirected from the RST Council at large to the Rosebud Economic Development Corporation (REDCO), the economic arm of the RST. The REDCO board of directors is comprised of business owners, Rosebud Sioux tribal council members and the Rosebud Sioux tribal president.

Project Objectives

The objectives of the project are to develop a self-sustainable business on the reservation primarily to foster jobs and to create maximum economic development benefits to the RST and its members without the tribe assuming any economic risk. Building internal capacity is also an important ingredient in this project, as it has provided a greater understanding of the potential wind resources here on the reservation. The learning curve of all involved, including the education of administrative personnel along with elected officials, has brought the tribe a more enlightened view of the economic potential of wind for its people.


A preliminary systems impact study was conducted to understand approximately how much actual capacity is remaining on the Western Area Power Administration 115 kV line that runs east and west through the reservation. The existing wind data indicates that the wind class is in the superior range at the standard hub height of 90 meters, with a capacity factor well above 40%. The proposed wind farm is in very close proximity to infrastructure, with thousands of acres of tribal trust lands identified. The study found that only 190 MW of capacity remains on this line, and it is requested that North Antelope 1 & 2 be placed in queue on this line, with a $10,000 application fee being placed with the Midwest Independent System Operator (MISO), on each of a 100 MW wind farm and a 90 MW wind farm. At the direction of RST, a preliminary environmental review to be conducted by an environmental contractor was initiated. This preliminary review shall attempt to reveal any potential significant environmental issues within the area. The project shall also follow any and all protocol requested from the RST Tribal Historic Properties Office in conducting any cultural studies and reviews.

Goals related to this effort to develop the 190 MW North Antelope Highlands Wind Project are to:

  1. Continue to collect and analyze wind data
  2. Complete required interconnection studies and engineering work for project interconnection and transmission service
  3. Finalize lease and project agreements in and between the project parties
  4. Compete final engineering design
  5. Complete permitting and approvals work, including avian and bat studies; wildlife, noise and archeological surveys and reports; visual simulations; Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and any other NEPA-related permits and approvals related to tribal and/or allottee lease and/or WAPA interconnection activities
  6. Build and maintain community support for wind development
  7. Negotiate and secure a PPA
  8. Secure financing
  9. Negotiate and select balance of plant electrical and civil construction firms and contractors.

The tribe shall act as a passive landowner reaping a percentage of gross receipts based on Grant of Use and Lease Agreement agreed upon by action of the RST Tribal Council and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. This project will result in delivery of all required environmental and cultural studies, permits and contracts sufficient to secure project financing.

Project Location

The Rosebud Sioux Tribe is a federally recognized Sovereign Indian Nation located in Todd County in south central South Dakota, with tribal trust lands scattered in a checkerboard fashion in four other counties surrounding it to the east and north, totaling more than 900,000 acres.

Project Status

The project was competitively selected under the Tribal Energy Program's fiscal year 2009 funding opportunity announcement, "Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Deployment in Indian Country," and started in July 2010.

The November 2009, October 2010, November 2011, November 2012, March 2014, and May 2015 project status reports provide more information.

For current project status or additional information, please contact the project contacts.

Project Contact

Ken Haukaas
Rosebud Sioux Tribe
11 Legion Ave. PO Box 430
Todd, SD 57570