Each Friday I scan the Escapes section of The New York Times for an urban take on life in the hinterland. But the keeper in today’s Times was not in the Escapes section but in National: Felicity Barringer’s report on how the 29,000 Rosebud Sioux are turning to wind power for economic sustenance.
Located in the heart of the Wind Belt, the Owl Feather War Bonnet wind farm is slated to be a 30 MW project that will power roughly 12,000 homes when it comes on line. (No date was given for completion.) The estimated cost, which will be carried exclusively by the developer of the wind farm, Distributed Generation Systems, was listed as $58.6 million with payments to the tribe totaling $5 million of that amount.
One point worth considering in this equation is that Rosebud Sioux tribal lands cover almost 1 million acres of South Dakota. According to the tribe’s website, more than 800,000 acres are used primarily for grazing, an ideal site for future development.