Pine Ridge Reservation Radio Station KILI-FM Brings Its Renewable Energy Vision to Life


KILI-FM radio station's new wind turbine. Photo by Keri Pickett

While most of the projects we post about are in the biggest and best category, sometimes small first steps are just as meaningful. This is one such step.

Wind Turbine to Entirely Power Lakota Radio Station
Later today 90.1 KILI-FM, located on the Pine Ridge Reservation in Porcupine, South Dakota, will dedicate the installation of a single wind turbine which will entirely power the station through renewable energy. The turbine dedication also marks the station's 25th anniversary as the largest Indian radio station, and the "Voice of the Lakota People." Expected to produce more than 92 MWh of electricity annually, the turbine will save the radio station $12,000 in energy costs.

Renewable Energy Seen as Alternative Future to Nuclear Power
According the KILI-FM, there has been a vision of powering the station with renewable energy dating back to the station's founding. At that time many Pine Ridge residents opposed plans to mine uranium in the vicinity due to the health effects on the local population.

Currently, as nuclear power is increasingly seen by some as the solution to both energy independence for the United States, as well as a way to reduce climate change inducing carbon emissions, Indian lands are once again being looked at possible sources of uranium.

Native Lands Could Generate 22% of US Electrical Demand
This project however offers an example of an alternate strategy. The US Department of Energy estimates that Native lands have the potential to generate more than 22% of US electric demand through renewable energy.

Winona LaDuke, Executive Director of Honor the Earth:

Wind energy is the fastest growing energy source in the world, and Native communities have an excellent potential to be part of that trend. We see the KILI wind turbine as a flagship project, a springboard for a broad, tribal renewable energy initiative.


Installation of KILI-FM's new wind turbine. Photo by Bob Gough.
KILI Integral to Pine Ridge Life
Like many community radio stations, KILI-FM is an integral service for the people it serves. However, given the fact that cable television and internet connections are a rarity there, KILI serves an even more crucial function of keeping community members on the reservation informed.

Oh, and if anyone wants to start dropping some Lakota lingo into their repertoire, "kili" means cool or awesome in Lakota.

:: Kili Radio
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Tags: Renewable Energy | United States

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