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Standing Rock Sioux Tribe - 2012 Project

Project Overview
Tribe/Awardee: Standing Rock Sioux Tribe
Location: Fort Yates, ND
(Includes land in South Dakota)
Project Title: Feasibility Study Supporting Wind Development on the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Indian Reservation
Type of Application: Feasibility
DOE Grant Number: DE-EE0005630
Project Amounts:
DOE: $430,355
Awardee: $0
Total: $430,355
Project Status: See project status
Project Period
of Performance:
Start: June 2012
End: December 2013


The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe (SRST) will perform a feasibility study and associated tasks over the course of two years on sites within the exterior boundaries of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation to support the future development ranging from 50 to 150 megawatts (MW) of wind power.

Project Description


SRST's twin goals of economic development and environmental stewardship converge in its dedication to the development of renewable wind energy within the exterior boundaries of the reservation. The Tribe's longstanding goal of developing renewable energy, and wind energy specifically, can be seen clearly in the Tribe's recent successful implementation of a DOE grant for a wind pilot study at the Tribe's Sitting Bull College (award number DE-FOA-0000013) and its successful implementation of a Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) grant for a wind assessment and wind farm siting study. Even more recently, the Tribe applied for a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) grant to form a Tribal Renewable Energy and Energy Development Office to manage, coordinate, and spearhead the Tribe's renewable energy projects (DE-FOA-0000422).

The Tribe, through the above projects and through the work of its Tribal Economics Committee and Tribal Council, continues to take active steps to implement revenue expansion for the Tribe and its members, who struggle with high unemployment and low incomes. The Economics Committee and Tribal Council desire that the future development's revenue increase tribal income, training, and job opportunities. The study will assist the Tribe with maximizing these benefits. The Tribal Council, Economics Committee, leadership, and members also have the strong goal that all development occur in a sustainable manner protective of the Tribe's natural resources, and in line with stewardship of the Earth and the Reservation for following generations.

Additionally, it is the Tribe's long-term energy vision that the Tribe will generate sufficient renewable wind energy to increase tribal revenues; that the Tribe will produce renewable wind energy at a level that exceeds the Tribe's energy usage; that renewable wind energy impacts to the environment or to tribal members be at the minimum level possible in the first instance and that those impacts will continue to diminish over time; and that the Tribe's generation of renewable wind energy will create increasing employment and training opportunities for Tribe members; that the management of the Tribe's wind energy be eventually completely tribal run and tribal managed; that the Tribe's wind energy production be completely self-supporting; and that the Tribe's generation of renewable wind energy reinforce tribal members' sense of pride and participation in the Tribe's protection of our Mother Earth.

Project Objectives

The future development will result in great benefit to the Tribe economically by allowing the Tribe to sell energy to the Montana-Dakota Utility, and socially by allowing the Tribe to diversify its revenue sources in a manner that fits the Tribe's cultural/environmental values and goal of sustainable utilization of its natural resources. As such, the goals and objectives of the feasibility study are to enable the Tribe to take the critical steps of quantifying its wind resources, determining the appropriate steps to render future development consistent with the Tribe's dedication to conscientious stewardship of its natural resources, garnering community and stakeholder support for the future development, actively seeking to identify a development partner who shares the Tribe's goals, and further preparing the Tribe to take positive steps toward the future development.

Project Scope

The feasibility study will result in a comprehensive project plan sufficient for the implementation of the future development. In sum, the study will result in the production of studies of reservation baseline conditions for later incorporation in a full environmental assessment; a long-term business plan for the support and staffing of the future development; the creation and dissemination of a request for proposals (RFP) to potential development partners, a tribal review of responses to the RFP in consultation with the Tribe's technical and legal consultants, and the review of recommendations for the selection a development partner; a template set of contract terms and conditions for use in future negotiations with potential business partners; and a report containing wind capacity and optimum preliminary site design and participation in pre-queue activities that will allow the future development to be placed in the Montana-Dakota transmission queue.

As outlined below, the following tasks will be conducted to prepare the Tribe for implementation of the future development:

  • Resource Monitoring at Study Sites
  • Preliminary Site Layout and Cost, Cost of Power Estimate
  • Draft EA Activities Plan
  • Threatened & Endangered Review:¬†Avian and Bat Habitat Study
  • Cultural Assessment of Study Sites
  • Benefits and Impacts Assessment
  • Land Ownership Investigation
  • Completion of EA Activities Summary
  • Business Planning
  • Long Term Maintenance Planning
  • Summary of Permitting Needs
  • Reporting and Tribal Energy Program Review

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 2012 funding opportunity announcement "Renewable Energy Development and Deployment in Indian Country" (DE-FOA-0000424) and started in June 2012.

The March 2014 and May 2015 project status report provides more information.

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

Project Contact

Fawn Wasin Zi
North Standing Rock Avenue Building #1
PO Box D
Fort Yates, ND 58538