Project Development, Utility Scale, Wind Power

Rosebud 750 kW Wind Turbine Installed

The Rosebud Sioux Indian Reservation are the first Native Americans to get the blades spinning on a utility-scale wind turbine with the recent completion of construction on a 750 kW NEG Micon wind turbine.

Rosebud, South Dakota – March 27, 2003 [] The installation marks the end of an eight-year preparation that begun in 1995 when the Rosebud Tribe, the Tribal Utility Commission and the Rosebud Casino began measuring the wind resources, which proved to be a Class 5/Class 6 resource. In 1998, the Tribe applied to the Department of Energy for a cooperative grant to build a commercial utility turbine. Part of the tribe’s success in obtaining the grant can be attributed to 18 months of wind data that the tribe had amassed. Working closely with the Intertribal Council On Utility Policy and Distributed Generation, Inc., the Rosebud Tribe negotiated the first U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Utilities Service loan to a tribe for a commercial wind energy project. Electricity generated by the turbine will help provide power to the Rosebud Casino and motel. The turbine is expected to supply an annual average of 80 percent of the electrical needs of the casino/motel. Realizing that the turbine will at times generate more energy than can be used by the facility, the Tribe is anticipating a sale of excess energy to Basin Electric for local use, with a multi-year sale of green power to Ellsworth Air Force Base, near Rapid City, to be delivered through a cooperative effort with Basin, Nebraska Public Power, and the Western Area Power Administration. The tribe has also negotiated the first tribal sale of the bulk of the green tags generated by this turbine to NativeEnergy of Vermont, which has marketed the tags to thousands of individual green power supporters, including Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, the Dave Mathews Band, the Natural Resources Defense Council for their Rolling Stones’ climate change awareness benefit concert and other parties interested in the development of Renewable Energy on Indian lands. The Rosebud turbine installation is the first phase of a long-term plan for multi-megawatt wind development on Indian reservations across the Great Plains, the world’s richest wind resource in the world, according to the tribe. The 750 kW NEG MICON turbine can produce enough electricity to serve about 300 to 350 houses and is expected to produce more than two million kWh per year. The two dozen reservations in the northern Great Plains have a combined wind power potential that exceeds 300 GW (the capacity to generate 300,000,000,000 watts at full wind), or about 1/2 of the entire installed electrical generation capacity in the United States. The wind power in this region has more than 100 times the installed power potential of dams on the Missouri River, according to the tribe. A formal dedication is scheduled for April 30-May 1, 2003 on the Rosebud Reservation.