Friday, July 05, 2013

ANS -- Sioux Tribes Plan Large-Scale Wind Energy Project

We have a new member who is especially interested in energy articles, so this is for you, David. 
This is about a poor Sioux tribe trying to make some money from their wind to help themselves out of poverty.  It's a short article, so I have included the few comments that were there. 
Find it  here:   

The Sioux project would generate 1 to 2 gigawatts of power ever  
The Sioux project would generate 1 to 2 gigawatts of power every year. (photo: unknown)

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Sioux Tribes Plan Large-Scale Wind Energy Project

By Kristi Eaton, Associated Press

05 July 13


[]  group of Sioux tribes in South Dakota are hoping to pump some much-needed revenue into their economies with an ambitious wind project, but some wind industry experts question whether the tribes understand the hurdles they face with such a large-scale development.

Leaders from six Sioux tribes announced plans at last month's Clinton Global Initiative to develop a renewable energy project that would generate 1 to 2 gigawatts of power annually. Funding for the up to $3 billion project would come from the sale of bonds by a new multi-tribal power authority as well as donations to a website.

"It gives Native tribes who aren't in populace areas and don't have casino revenue a chance to earn some real money that can then be used to reinvest into the community to diversify the economic base that exists," Clinton said at the event. The Sioux tribes are located in some of the poorest areas in the country.

But wind energy experts said the tribes face many obstacles in making the project a reality.

"When I see plans for a thousand megawatts, I have to give a chuckle," said Steve Wegman, an analyst for the South Dakota Renewable Energy Association, who noted that the project is similar to one proposed years ago. "The goal is good, but it's going to take them a long time to get there."

One of the biggest obstacles to the project is simply what to do with so much energy in a state that doesn't demand a lot.

Wind energy demand in South Dakota sits at less than 800 megawatts currently. Wegman said. Another 100 will be put on line in the next year.

"After that it's going to be slow going," he said.

Ron Rebenitsch, executive director of the South Dakota Wind Energy Association, said all wind developers face three challenges: finding a buyer for the energy, transmitting it and following the environmental and regulatory requirements.

Since South Dakota is a small state that doesn't require a lot of power, the multi-tribal power authority will need to look east to places such as Minneapolis and Chicago, Rebenitsch said. But then the challenge becomes getting it to those locations. New wind generation requires new lines, and a gigawatt or more would require several major lines, which cost about $1 million per mile and take up to a year and a half to build.

The tribes recognize that there isn't much demand locally, which is why they're hoping to sell it to cities such as Anaheim, Calif., or Oklahoma City and connect with a company that already has a transmission system in place, said Paul Valandra, an economic development adviser with the Rosebud Sioux Tribe.

He said building the wind energy project is in the national interest and is "a little bit of social justice" for the tribes, who have felt wronged by the U.S. government in the past.

"We're going slow, but we want to do a first-class job on this project," Valandra said.

One advantage the tribes could have over other entities is building the turbines on reservation land, which may not require gaining approval from individual landowners for the project, Rebenitsch said.

"The tribe have some very good areas...If they can do it all on tribal lands, they can probably move forward in that area," he said.


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+2 # DPM 2013-07-05 08:01
They will encounter a lot of negative comments because nothing will work until the "big kids" can make all the money.
They've got to start somewhere. I wish them well. If you have ever been on the Rosebud Reservation, you will too.
+2 # reiverpacific 2013-07-05 08:28
Why not look farther indeed?
Instead of "chuckling" at their attempts at a measure of honorable self-sufficienc y and getting away from dependence on BIA shit-grade food allowances (often spent in the white-owned bars and liquor stores, resulting in a high rate of spousal abuse, utterly unknown to their traditional elders and nomadic ancestors) to the most poverty-stricke n, FBI - goon harassed and corrupted, neglected areas like Pine Ridge which exist in the most wealthy nation on the face of the planet, with uranium-poisone d rivers, these patronizing wise-monkeys should be encouraging them and helping them with technical advice and assistance (Not enough profit in it perhaps??).
After all, most of the power generated by the Columbia River Dalles dam here in Oregon (which robbed the Wayam peoples of their most sacred, amazing salmon fishing and trading point at Celilo Falls and causing Chief Tommy Thomson to die of a broken heart age 106 when they flooded the falls behind the dam and the whole tribe to turn their backs on the river and sing their death-song) goes to wasteful LA and California.
Sitting Bull, Hunkpapa Lakota spiritual leader, once declared that "The white man (Wasicu) can make many marvelous thing but he has never learned to share them"!
So here's a chance to make a lie just for once, of that prescient observation, instead of putting it down -and helping the cause of clean energy into the bargain. I'm sure St Paul and Chicago could use the energy.
+1 # Okieangels 2013-07-05 08:36
"When I see plans for a thousand megawatts, I have to give a chuckle," said Steve Wegman" Cute little Indians, trying to think big. If the Sioux fail at this, it won't be for lack of effort, but from opposition of those who "know better."
+1 # oakes721 2013-07-05 08:53
If the energy produced can be used to fuel their own or local industry ~ rather than trying to ship it elsewhere. Invent or invite the businesses that can use it, perhaps at an economic advantage without the added costs of distant delivery.
0 # Arden 2013-07-05 08:55
That is a very interesting photograph of the sun and the while glow above it. Can you explain it?
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