Distributed Energy Resources

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe launches crowdfunding effort for 235-MW wind farm

SAGE Development Authority has launched a crowdfunding initiative for the next phase of its 235-megawatt (MW) Anpetu Wi wind farm.

Anpetu Wi means “breaking of the new day” in the Lakota language.

The wind farm is sited on the Standing Rock Reservation, between Porcupine and Fort Yates, N.D., home to the Lakota and Dakota people of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe (SRST). The crowdfunding initiative, https://anpetuwi.com/, aims to raise $1.5 million.

The SAGE Development Authority is the first public power authority owned by a single Native nation in the United States.

SAGE has already submitted an application for interconnection to the Southwest Power Pool and has raised nearly $2 million from nine different philanthropic foundations for pre-development work to set up SAGE.

“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,” Joseph McNeil Jr., general manager of SAGE, said in a statement.

The total cost of the wind project is estimated at $325 million, and the debt-to-equity is targeted at 70% debt, 30% equity. The remaining sponsor equity is being raised through a combination of grants, some additional crowdfunding and contributions from the sponsor when they are selected, spokesman Ludovic Leroy said. SAGE, as a not-for-profit, cannot use the tax credits the wind farm will generate, so the credits will be monetized as part of the project financing.

SAGE is working with LIATI Capital, Connexus Capital, and Hometown Connections. LIATI is overall head of the project’s advisory team. Hometown Connections is handling institution building and identification and implementation of best practices in governance, strategic planning and implementation. Connexus works on the crowdfunding initiatives, including data driven digital marketing and audience targeting.

“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,” Fawn Wasin Zi, chairman of SAGE, said in a statement.

SAGE expects Anpetu Wi to be a revenue source for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and will help provide essential needs such as schools, roads, health care, and housing development.

The Standing Rock Reservation has a poverty rate of 40% and an unemployment rate of 70%.