Rosebud Sioux Tribe - 2003 Project

Project Overview
Tribe/Awardee: Rosebud Sioux Tribe
Location: Rosebud, SD
Project Title: Wind Energy Development on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation
Type of Application: Development
DOE Grant Number: DE-FG36-03GO13122
Project Amounts:
DOE: $448,551
Awardee: $116,022
Total: $564,573
Project Status: Complete  More
Project Period
of Performance:
Start: September 2003
End: June 2005

Summary

The Rosebud Sioux Tribe, located in Todd County in south-central South Dakota, installed a single 750-kW wind turbine that was dedicated in April 2003. While completing the design and financing of the single wind turbine, the tribe began defining a larger commercial opportunity — a 30-MW wind energy project for energy export into the larger electricity market. The project to be funded under this grant is the preconstruction development activities for a 30-MW commercial wind facility to provide economic benefits to the tribe and create jobs for tribal members.

Project Description

The Rosebud Sioux Tribe, located in Todd County in south central South Dakota, recently installed a single 750 kW wind turbine that was dedicated in April 2003. While completing the design and financing of the single wind turbine, the Tribe began defining a larger commercial opportunity — a 30-MW wind energy project for energy export into the larger electricity market. The project to be funded under this grant encompasses preconstruction development activities for a 30-MW commercial wind facility, which will provide economic benefits to the Tribe and the create jobs for tribal members. For information on the previous single turbine installation, see the 1999 project.

Objective

This development project will focus on leveraging the funds from the single turbine grant awarded to the Rosebud Sioux in the late 1990s in the preconstruction development of a 30 MW wind energy generation facility. The objectives of the wind development project are to maximize the economic benefits to the Tribe and to create employment for tribal members. An additional benefit is the transfer of wind development knowledge to Tribal members as a first step in creating tribal development capabilities.

Scope

The process shall complete all of the preconstruction development activities, including National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) permitting requirements, for a 30-MW commercial wind facility on lands selected and owned by the Rosebud Sioux Tribe (Tribal Trust Land). Further, the process shall include the transmission and interconnection studies and subsequent agreements required to deliver energy onto and through the transmission system to a specific set of potential purchasers. The process shall deliver all the studies, permits and contracts (with the exception of a power purchase agreement) sufficient for obtaining project financing from institutional investors or the Rural Utilities Services Administration (RUS) within the Department of Agriculture. The completion of the power purchase agreement will be pursued on a best-efforts basis, the success of which is primarily dependent upon the market for renewable energy at the time the preconstruction studies and permits are completed.

The specific development proposal objectives focus on the completion of all the actions required to qualify a specific project for financing and construction of the 30 MW wind facility. The RST is committed to obtaining a power purchase agreement for the project if the final economics are competitive and the RST so directs. The consummation of a power purchase agreement cannot be totally assured because the future market conditions are simply unknown. In order to qualify for commercial financing, the project will require specific and detailed information, derived from the following project tasks:

  1. Detailed Avian Assessment suitable for obtaining permits from the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA);

  2. Detailed cultural assessment suitable for obtaining permits from the BIA and to the satisfaction of the Tribal Historical Preservation Offices (THPO);

  3. Preparation and filing of a National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) Report and obtaining permits;

  4. Completion of an Interconnection Feasibility Study and an Interconnection Systems Impact Study with Cherry-Todd Rural Electric Cooperative (CTREC) and Nebraska Public Power district (NPPD);

  5. Execution of an interconnection Agreement with CTREC and NPPD;

  6. Analyzing and selection of a wind turbine based on wind resource;

  7. Performing a geotechnical analyses and foundation design suitable for construction estimates;

  8. Producing photo-simulations suitable for community information meetings;

  9. Holding six community information meetings;

  10. Identifying and meeting with prospective power purchasers;

  11. Assessment of financing alternatives;

  12. Obtaining a power purchase agreement; and

  13. Obtain financing commitments from at least one source.

Background

The Rosebud Sioux Tribe (RST), located in Todd County in south central South Dakota recently installed a single 750 kW NEG-Micon wind turbine as part of a DOE grant awarded in the late 1990s. The RST entered into an Energy Services Agreement with a wind consultant to manage the project at the direction of the Tribe. While completing the design and financing of the single turbine project, the RST began working together to define a larger commercial project opportunity. The site selected was adjacent to the community of St. Francis. The tribally owned KINI radio tower was instrumented and began collecting wind data on May 1, 2001. Two years of hourly wind data has been collected. A wind resource assessment has been completed. The Capacity Factor of the site is estimated at 39% net. The RST has decided to proceed with the development of a 30 MW wind energy project.

The RST has selected a tribally owned parcel of trust land for the development of the commercial wind facility. The property selected is adjacent to, and south of, St. Francis, South Dakota. The property consists of approximately 1,900 acres. An existing radio (KINI) tower, used by the RST, was instrumented at sixty-five meters (65 m), forty meters (40 m) and thirty meters (30 m) on May 1, 2001. Two years of data has been analyzed and estimates a capacity factor for the project of approximately 39%, depending upon the wind turbine selected and its power curve. The capacity factor indicates that a commercial wind energy project is feasible in this location.

The electric utility providing service to the RST Reservation is Cherry-Todd Rural Electric Cooperative (CTREC) located in Mission, South Dakota. Representatives from the Tribe met with the General Manager of CTREC, who described the electrical system serving the reservation. The substation located near St. Francis is interconnected to a Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) 115 kV transmission line. NPPD has expressed a willingness to work with the RST to assess the capabilities of the line to accept 30 MW of capacity and energy. It should be emphasized that an Interconnection Feasibility Study will be required to confirm the initial opinion, and that an additional System Impact Study may be required.

A Phase I Avian Resource Assessment study was conducted which resulted in no significant impacts identified. However, in order to meet the permitting requirements of NEPA, a one year field study of the project area must be conducted. This study is required for either an Environmental Assessment or an Environmental Impact Statement under NEPA and is included under this project. In addition, a study of the plants in the project area is also required and included as part of this project. It should be noted that a literature review of the project area disclosed the possibility of the presence of the American Burying Beetle, which is on the Endangered Species List. A field study will be completed to confirm that the beetles are not present in the project area.

The National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) and NEPA require a comprehensive cultural review, overseen by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). The customary BIA process is to conduct an on-site inspection of the property and integrate those findings with the catalogued "known significant cultural sites." The inspection and review of existing data must be done, or overseen by, a "BIA Permitted Contractor." However, the Rosebud Sioux and several other tribes have created Tribal Historical Preservation Offices (THPO) that require cultural studies to include oral interviews ("Ethnographic Studies") with Tribal Elders, conducted in the native language. These interviews are valuable and identify areas of concern other than physical evidence and planned during this project. The oral data obtained from the interviews will be tightly controlled and may not be published at all. This action is intended to protect the sensitive information from non-Indian opportunists.

The project effort to date has provided the following significant information:

  1. The project location is on Tribal Trust Land; benefiting the RST.

  2. The wind resource is sufficient for an economic wind project.

  3. The preliminary environmental studies identified no significant impacts.

  4. The local utility has indicated cooperativeness for interconnection.

  5. Potential renewable energy power purchasers exist in the Upper Plains market.

  6. Potential project investors have been identified

Project Location

The Rosebud Sioux Indian Tribe (RST) is a Federally Recognized Sovereign Nation, located in Todd County in south central South Dakota. The RST has selected a tribally-owned parcel of trust land for the development of the commercial wind facility. The property selected is adjacent to, and south of, St. Francis, South Dakota. The property consists of approximately 1,900 acres. An existing radio (KINI) tower, used by the RST, was instrumented at sixty-five meters (65 m), forty meters (40 m) and thirty meters (30 m) on May 1, 2001.

Project Status

This project is complete. For details, see the final report (PDF 8.0 MB). Download Adobe Reader.

The project was competitively selected under the Tribal Energy Program's FY 2003 solicitation, "Renewable Energy Development on Tribal Lands," and started September 2003. For more information, see the project status reports from November 2003 (PDF 1.4 MB), October 2004 (PDF 3.3 MB and PDF 1.0 MB), October 2005 (PDF 4.9 MB), October 2006 (PDF 4.7 MB), and November 2007 (PDF 5.3 MB). For information on the previous single turbine installation, see the 1999 project. Download Adobe Reader.

For additional information, contact the project contact.

Project Contact

Ken Haukaas
Wind Farm Administrator
Old Bristow Ranch
Resource Development Office
Rosebud Sioux Tribe
Rosebud, SD 57570
Phone: 605-856-5644
Fax: 605-856-5647
E-mail: khaukaas@gwtc.net