KILI Radio Wind Turbine Helps Station Go Green

Dec 7, 2016

Credit Charles Michael Ray / SDPB

KILI Radio in the Pine Ridge Reservation is known as the voice of the Lakota Nation.   And part of the community run radio station is now powered by wind. 

This is the second wind turbine KILI radio has put up, after the first one broke down.

The turbine is part of KILI radio’s mission run the station on sustainable energy.

On the morning of December second, electricians put the finishing touches on a new wind turbine for
KILI radio. That station is Lakota owned and operated. It broadcasts across the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation from Porcupine Butte, with a translator in Rapid City.

In 2008, the station received a 20-year-old refurbished wind turbine that sporadically worked. Then the wind blew the cell from the tower.  The station was able to secure a $100,000 grant from the Department of Interior to install more wind and solar.

Arlo Iron Cloud is with KILI radio. He says unreliable energy sources on the reservation prove alternative power is needed. Iron Cloud says combining wind energy with their already existing solar collection will eventually produce 20 percent of the stations electrical output.

“Power is always an issue here for us," Iron Cloud says. "When the power does go out typically you would have a generator to kick in, especially for public radio. But, those things are still in the works here at the station.”

Iron Cloud says the turbine advances KILI’s mission of going green. He says the wind tower is a big deal…

“Especially now with what’s going on in Standing Rock, because that move up there is not about stopping a pipeline specifically, per se. It’s more of a statement," Iron Cloud says. "The statement that this world needs to move to renewable energies and that’s what we’re doing here at KILI radio and that’s what we want the world to reflect on.”

In addition to wind power, KILI radio also has solar panels on the south facing roof collecting energy.