The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $725,000 grant to the Standing Rock Renewable Energy Authority, Fort Yates, North Dakota, for planning, evaluation, and design of the proposed Aneptu Wi Wind Farm.
The tribe that gained attention for leading the fight to block the Dakota Access Pipeline is taking the reins of its clean energy future with the creation of a public power authority to develop a 235-megawatt wind farm.
To date, SAGE (Strategic, Advancement, Goals, and the Environment) has raised nearly $2 million from nine different philanthropic foundations for pre-development work, as well as secured a $100,000 award from NDN Collective, a Rapid City, S.D.-based advocacy and funding group, for the project’s commitment to stem the effects of climate change.
“We want to control our own destiny,” said Joseph McNeil Jr., general manager of SAGE Development Authority, the tribe’s new public power authority. “That’s been the bottom line for a long time, and particularly when DAPL hit — that we earn, build and maintain our own power supply.”
SAGE, which stands for Strategic, Advancement, Goals, and the Environment, is charged with leading Standing Rock’s efforts at developing renewable energy resources for economic development. Anpetu Wi (meaning “the breaking of the new day” in the Lakota language) will be an enduring revenue source for SRST and will support Standing Rock in providing essential needs such as schools, roads, health care, and housing development.
The project represents a community development model to produce renewable energy that offers a path toward self-determination and sovereignty for Standing Rock and other Native nations. No tribally owned public power project in the U.S. has achieved this level of development to date for a utility-scale wind farm.