Standing Rock Sioux Tribe - 2011 Project

Project Overview
Tribe/Awardee: Standing Rock Sioux Tribe
Location: Fort Yates, ND
(Includes land in South Dakota)
Project Title: Establishment of Renewable Energy and Energy Development Office to serve the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Indian Reservation
Type of Application: First Steps (Planning)
DOE Grant Number: DE-EE0005054
Project Amounts:
DOE: $274,883
Awardee: $74,883
Total: $349,766
Project Status: See project status
Project Period
of Performance:
Start: September 2011
End: September 2013


The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe's (SRST) cultural identity demands that tribal development occur in a sustainable manner and in a manner protective of the tribe's natural resources to preserve them for following generations. At the same time, the tribe has a pressing need for both energy development to meet tribal needs and a need for the economic development that energy development will represent.

Under this project, the tribe will address the staffing, training of staff, and establishment of such an office to allow SRST to meet its goal of sustainable energy development through community education; the tribe believes that by educating the tribal populace, government and people, the Tribe will best be able to choose the types of sustainable development that will best meet tribal needs.

Project Description


The federally recognized Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the Standing Rock Indian Reservation were established through the Indian Appropriations Act of 1889. The Act broke up the Great Sioux Nation into smaller reservations, 2 million acres of which formed the Standing Rock Indian Reservation. The total land area within the exterior boundaries of the reservation is 2.3 million acres. Within the reservation, over 60% is tribally owned. The reservation itself straddles the North Dakota/South Dakota state line.

The reservation represents a large area of land with natural resources representing the potential for wind, geothermal, solar, biomass, and other renewable energy development. In addition, the tribe has a growing need for energy development. Thus, responsible governing, within SRST cultural values, requires sustainable development for the good of the SRST community. The development of the Renewable Energy and Energy Development Office (REEDO) and the project will ensure proper information is disseminated to SRST members to allow appropriate consideration of renewable energy development and allow SRST to develop energy resources in a manner befitting both tribal identity and tribal economic development. The responsibility for such efforts will shift from the tribal government to the REEDO.

As part of the economic and social goals, the tribe has worked to investigate and expand renewable energy resources through a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) block grant for wind development, and another wind energy grant from BIA. Under the current wind energy project, the tribe is conducting a feasibility study on wind resources on the reservation, performing data analysis and legal assessments for a potential large-scale wind energy facility on the reservation, and installing one wind turbine. This grant experience, in addition to the above-discussed factors, crystallized the need for an SRST REEDO. The REEDO will assist current SRST functions by managing the wind grant, gathering all data collected under this grant, and reporting to governmental bodies and tribal members on the lessons learned under this grant. Moving forward, the REEDO will integrate into current tribal functioning by managing all energy-related grants, collecting all energy-related data for the SRST, and disseminating all energy related information throughout the government and through community meetings in each of SRST's eight districts. Pushing forward in renewable energy investigations and information dissemination will allow the REEDO to meet the current cultural, economic, and social needs for sustainable development.

Project Objectives

It is the tribe's goal to create the REEDO within the exterior boundaries of the SRST reservation to meet the following goals and objectives:

  1. to spearhead renewable and other energy development to create and maintain Tribal energy sufficiency and encourage Tribal economic opportunity and employment within the exterior boundaries of the Reservation;
  2. to serve as a research center and information clearinghouse that gathers and disseminates information to educate Tribal members regarding the benefits of renewable energy development, and thus create an informed populace who may participate in the Tribal decision-making process with regard to energy development;
  3. to ensure that energy development occurs in a systematic way that adheres to Tribal values and applicable law;
  4. to serve as an advisor to the Tribal government leaders in the development of renewable energy laws, policies, and business decisions.

Project Scope

Implementation steps for the project are as follows:

  1. Office Member Staffing. Identify and hire SRST member(s) to serve as the RE Project Manager(s). This employee will be mentored and/or overseen by the SRST Land Management Director and Natural Resources Liaison. The employee will be prepared to receive training in renewable energy development and energy development, and to establish the REEDO as an advisory, research, and resource center for SRST members and entrepreneurs. The RE Project Manager will possess community development skills and cultural competency to work within the SRST culture, values, and laws.
  2. Office Staff Education. Institute continuing education and training of the RE Project Manager through external training and educational events, participation in conferences, and information-gathering activities with tribes across the country.
  3. Intra-Governmental Coordination. Establish the REEDO as the central resource within the SRST for all renewable energy and energy development projects and proposed projects through scheduled coordination with and outreach to other relevant SRST Tribal Offices and Departments. Gather information on the goals and concerns of SRST governmental arms and work to structure renewable energy and energy development to meet the tribe's diverse needs.
  4. Grant Administration. Task the REEDO with spearheading current and future energy-related grants, including SRST's current DOE-funded wind project.
  5. Renewable Energy Investigation. Task the REEDO with investigating additional types of renewable energy (the "RE Products"). Require the REEDO to communicate the results of the RE Products investigations to Tribal members via community meetings held in each of the Reservation's districts.
  6. Renewable Energy and Energy Funding Investigations. Task the REEDO with investigating potential funding sources to perform the development and deployment of renewable energy and energy development projects in the future.

Project Location

The Standing Rock Indian Reservation is a Lakota, Yanktonai, and Dakota Indian reservation in North Dakota and South Dakota in the United States. The sixth-largest reservation in land area in the United States, it comprises all of Sioux County, North Dakota, and all of Corson County, South Dakota, plus slivers of northern Dewey County and Ziebach County in South Dakota, along their northern county lines at Highway 20.

Project Status

The project was competitively selected under the Tribal Energy Program's fiscal year 2011 funding opportunity announcement "Renewable Energy Development and Deployment in Indian Country" (DE-FOA-0000422) and started in June 2012.

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

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

Project Contact

Fawn Wasin Zi
Energy & Mineral Project Manager
North Standing Rock Ave., Building #1
P.O. Box D
Fort Yates, ND  58538
701-854-8540 Ext. 8790