Montana Department of Commerce – Wind Energy

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Montana is Wind Country

Click the above image to view the Montana is Wind Country brochure.

Montana leads the nation in wind energy power potential and the state is at the center of North America\’s wind heartland. Wind energy is clean and renewable and provides the green complement to Montana\’s world-class reserves of coal as well as oil and natural gas. Much of Montana\’s wind has yet to be tapped and represents a great investment opportunity.

Montana Wind Resources

Wind Energy Objectives

Combining wind energy with conventional and advanced fossil power sources offers a stable \”green\” energy package that meets the growing demand for cleaner energy while advancing the national goal of energy independence. Our mission is to support all types of wind development, from industrial scale wind farms to locally owned community wind models serving individual farms, businesses and homes, as well as the construction of electric transmission lines that deliver Montana\’s wind power to high demand markets.

Wind Energy Assets

Montana is the fourth largest state, but #1 in the nation for wind speed (class 3 and above), available on a wide expanse of federal, state and private lands. The majority of wind sites are located in low population areas and near rural communities that strongly support wind energy development, avoiding objections to visual impacts. Some counties, such as Cascade County, offer developers GIS based maps providing information on wind resource classification, roads, transmission lines, property ownership and topography. County officials stand ready to introduce potential developers to land owners and turn prospects into projects.

Montana\’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) currently requires regulated utilities to purchase 10% of their annual electricity supply from renewable sources and increases the standard to 15% in 2015.

Wind Projects

Four major industrial scale wind projects have gone on line in Montana since 2005, moving Montana from a ranking of 50th to 15th in the nation in wind energy production:

Rimrock Wind Farm, 189 MW

In October of 2011 NaturEner USA began construction on the 189 MW wind farm near Shelby, MT. Once Rim Rock is in operation, NaturEner will own 70% of the wind generation in the State of Montana, with approximately $800 million invested. NaturEner held its opening ceremony for this the project on September 14, 2012 as the project neared completion. This project will connect to the Montana Alberta Tie Limited (MATL) transmission line which is expected to be complete near the end of 2012. Rim Rock\’s Commercial Operation Date (COD) is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2013. Glacier and Toole Counties will receive new tax revenue of $2.5 million thanks to the Rim Rock Wind Farm. Landowners involved in with the project will be paid $1.5 million in annual royalty payments. Construction of the project contributed over $40 million to Montana\’s GDP and operations will contribute $5 million to the state\’s GDP. The Rim Rock project will supply enough electricity for approximately 60,000 U.S. households per year.

Judith Gap Wind Farm, Wheatland County: 135MW, 2005

Horseshoe Bend Wind Park, near Great Falls: 9MW, 2006

Martinsdale Colony South, Wheatland County: 2 MW, 2006

Diamond Willow Wind Farm, near Baker: 30MW, 2008

Glacier Wind Farm, near Shelby: 210MW, 2008

Gordon Butte, Meagher County: 9.6MW, 2012

Under Construction: Over 200MW anticipated online by the end of 2012

via Montana Department of Commerce – Wind Energy.

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