KOTA Territory tribes are taking a big step into the world or clean power. Pine Ridge, Rosebud, Cheyenne River and four other state tribal governments have formed a power authority and aim to build massive wind farms.
The Pine Ridge council is poised this week to OK the authority’s charter and appoint a board member. State tribes have dabbled in wind projects before but never in a unified effort with the goal of maintaining tribal ownership of the power. The new Oceti Sakowin Power Authority plans to sell bonds against future revenue to finance construction on 16 sites. Federal power agencies have long recognized the -plains of North and South Dakota as prime wind generation territory.
“I see the tribe doing its part in reducing carbon emissions and actually getting cleaner energy,” said wind power consultant Lyle Jack. “But I also see a revenue source that’s going to come in and help the tribes that are living in poverty.”
Jack, who has worked on tribal wind projects before says the economic landscape is stronger today. Many coal generation plants are scheduled for decommissioning in coming decades and there’s a new push from big companies like google to buy clean power.