SAGE, Standing Rock-Owned Public Power Authority, to Develop Wind Farm

SAGE was created by and for the 8,000-member Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North and South Dakota. Pictured: Lakota Flag (Courtesy SAGE)

SAGE Development Authority’s forthcoming utility-scale wind farm, “Anpetu Wi” on the Standing Rock Reservation, serves to advance economic development through renewable energy. 

Anpetu Wi — meaning “the breaking of the new day” in Lakota — will provide an enduring revenue source for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

The 235-megawatt wind farm will support the Tribe’s essential needs such as schools, roads, health care and housing development on a reservation that straddles North and South Dakota and faces a poverty rate of 40 percent, with an unemployment rate of 70 percent. The need for the revenue provided by the project is critical.

SAGE Development Authority, the first public power authority owned by a single Native Nation in the United States, recently announced the launch of a new crowdfunding initiative, www.anpetuwi.com, marking the next phase of development for its 235-megawatt wind farm coming to the reservation between Porcupine and Fort Yates, North Dakota. 

Fawn Wasin, SAGE Board Chair

SAGE — which stands for Strategic, Advancement, Goals, and the Environment — is charged with leading Standing Rock’s efforts to develop renewable energy resources for economic development. 

“Developing renewable energy resources — for export as well as local consumption — will foster badly needed economic development on the reservation and provide employment and skills training,” says Fawn Wasin Zi, SAGE Board Chair. “We believe the new website will help people understand who we are, what we stand for, and serve as a critical vehicle to enlist people to help us make lasting change.”

The new crowdfunding initiative at www.anpetuwi.com aims to raise $1.5 million as its phase one goal to build Anpetu Wi. SAGE has already submitted an application for interconnection to the Southwest Power Pool. 

Nearly $2 million has already been raised to date from nine different philanthropic foundations for pre-development work to establish SAGE, which will also take advantage of the enhanced market economics through the 2020 Federal Production Tax Credit. The total cost of the project is projected to total $325 million. Foundation partners include The Wallace Global Fund, The Sierra Club Foundation, The JPB Foundation, The Seventh Generation Fund for Indigenous Peoples, Tamalpais Trust, The Cedar Tree Foundation, The Christensen Fund, and a generous anonymous donor.

Joseph McNeil, SAGE General Manager

“We are proud to achieve another milestone in our quest to create a model for self-determination and economic development not only for our people but for all Native communities,” says Joseph McNeil Jr., General Manager of SAGE. “For our people and me, this project is a prayer. It allows us something to leave behind for future generations of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and reflects our cultural values by prioritizing people, land, and nature over profit. Our model certainly includes investors, but also allows us to benefit directly from its revenue for hundreds of years to come.”

As SAGE Development Authority notes, the Standing Rock Tribe gained international notoriety for its leadership in the non-violent protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline, which poses a threat to drinking water for Standing Rock and millions of others who depend on the Missouri River for clean water. The movement reaffirmed the Tribe and SAGE’s commitment to fight climate change and bring enhanced awareness to the cultural values of its people by providing renewable energy resources in accordance with “Natural Law,” which achieves balance by not allowing any one force to dominate or to take beyond their own need from nature.

SAGE has a goal of existing for 500 or more years following the philosophy that the decisions we make today should result in a sustainable world for at least seven generations. SAGE is now one of the country’s 2,000 public power authorities, and 885 of these have been in business serving their communities for 100 years or more. SAGE is believed to be the first public power authority owned by a single Tribal Nation. 

SAGE is working in partnership with special advisors LIATI Capital, LLC, Connexus Capital LLC, and Hometown Connections, Inc., which offer technical, financial, and general institutional support, with the express purpose of helping the Tribe realize its goals.

SAGE was created by and for the 8,000-member Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North and South Dakota. Charged with leading Standing Rock’s development of renewable energy resources for economic development on the reservation, the company controls and operates the energy production assets within the reservation, facilitates agreements with third-party entities, and holds Standing Rock’s equity interest. 

SAGE is governed by a women-led Board of Directors, consisting solely of enrolled Tribal members appointed by the Tribal Council. SAGE is a member of the American Public Power Association, Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance, and the American Wind Energy Association. 

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