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Six Dakota Sioux Tribes Plan Biggest U.S. Wind Energy Installation

Bill Clinton, Indians, wind turbines—that's got to give South Dakota Republicans heartburn.

The Clinton Global Initiative has announced that six South Dakota tribes are working together to build America's biggest wind farm:

Six South Dakota Sioux Tribes – the Cheyenne River, Crow Creek, Oglala, Rosebud, Sisseton Wahpeton, and Yankton Tribes – have decided to pool their considerable wind power resources to create the largest utility-grade wind installation in the country – a Project funded by $1.75-3 Billion in bonds issued through a multi-Tribal power authority.

...This will be a “first” in many respects: the first use of public power bonds in a project of this type; the first time multiple Tribes have cooperated in an economic development project of this size and scope; the first new joint municipal power authority formed in the U.S. in decades. And it will be a market driven initiative – start-up costs will be funded by private grants and investments, and the Project development costs will be fully funded by Power Authority bonds. The Project will not rely on federal tax credits.

...Together, our Tribes cover 16% of the total land area of South Dakota, and have the capacity to develop as much as 58 Gigawatts of power while producing zero emissions. By producing at least 1-2 Gigawatts, our Project will more than double the installed wind-power capacity in South Dakota (currently only 784 megawatts) and add 2-3% to the total amount of wind-power generated in the United States [Byron Dorgan et al., "Unleashing the Powers of the Wind and the Great Sioux Nation," Clinton Global Initiative, 2013.06.14].

Here's the project video explaining the motivation and funding for the project:

Plan boosters say the Sioux Wind project could inject $3 billion into South Dakota's economy.


  1. Rorschach 2013.06.16

    If they can pull this off without help from the state of South Dakota it will undermine the GOP plan to build nuclear reactors and become the national leader in nuclear waste disposal.

  2. Barry G Wick 2013.06.16

    This project is past-due. Get it off the ground!!! What a great plan!!!

  3. Testor15 2013.06.16

    Holy crap this is a game changer on so many levels. Go for it!

  4. Douglas Wiken 2013.06.16

    Use the power to generate methanol and anhydrous ammonia and for other industry and then there will actually be a really big bang for the buck for tribes and for South Dakota. If the tribes are interested in progress, they will have training programs for their youth aimed at jobs in wind energy and related industries.

  5. Bill Dithmer 2013.06.16

    Yes to everything said.

    If it is true every one of the people on the PUC should be run not only out of office but out of our state for incompetence.

    In the not so distant past every time I asked about such a venture the answers were always the same.

    To far from a grid tie in.
    To far from a large market place for the product. Whatever the hell that means.
    Big lines cost to much money so why pursue it.

    And that was just from Dusty Johnson during the live chat on the Rapid City Journal a couple of years ago.

    We know none of the above are true because of one fact that nobody wanted to talk about when asked. The coal fired plants at Colstrip Montana sent energy to Puget Sound for years that is a fact. Why not the tribes?

    The Blindman

  6. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.06.17

    Bill, what would the folks at the Clinton Global Initiative know that Dusty Johnson and our current PUCommissioners don't about transmission and wind viability?

  7. T.A. Mullinix 2013.06.22

    Don't lose focus of your goals to the wishes and whims of the positive and negative things that will confront your project. "The past has worked for those living in the present but will not work for those in the future." I was part of a team that took the steps to challenge and to make change and it worked. So will yours!

  8. Catherine Schmit 2013.07.05

    So proud of the Sioux tribes for this effort. Global energy issues so scary now. No one listened when Al Gore spoke about where we are headed. Take a look around you people! Don't you see what's happening with our planet & the violent weather? We are harming ourselves & our planet.

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