Library from Montana

SDG&E, wind farm in legal tangle; Utility files suit claiming breach of contract over birds

“Had SDG&E been aware of the truth, it very likely would not have entered into contracts involving hundreds of millions of dollars,” SDG&E’s suit states. The San Diego utility may be leery of the Montana project’s impacts on golden eagles following its own violations while building another major construction effort.
25 Dec 2013

Turbulence hits farm: Wind facility owner and utility launch dueling lawsuits

San Diego Gas and Electric filed a lawsuit Thursday in San Diego Superior Court against Rim Rock wind farm owner NaturEner asking the court to confirm its allegation that the company did not meet contractual requirements related to the preservation of eagles, raptors and other protected bird and bat species. “Unfortunately, the project’s owner, NaturEner, did not meet its contractual requirements, so SDG&E has decided not to make the investment in Rim Rock or to continue purchasing its renewable energy credits.”
21 Dec 2013

Owner withdraws application for wind turbine after heavy opposition

Toward the conclusion of the meeting, Clare rose to speak. "After everything you guys have said today, I still believe in wind energy to a point. I think the best move is to do a study - take a year and see if the study looks really good. It was good for all of us to come together," she said. ...At the conclusion of the meeting, BLUAC Chairman Shelley Gonzales said she would not have voted for the permit because wind turbines are not specifically mentioned in county zoning regulations.
5 Jul 2013

NorthWestern works to clamp down on independent, renewable power projects

NorthWestern says it's merely trying to manage its electricity supply and prevent unneeded costs of these contracts from being foisted onto consumers. "There is a limit on how much (wind power) we can have and still have a reliable portfolio for customers," said John Hines, NorthWestern's vice president of electric supply. "There is only so much intermittent (power) supply we can have in our portfolio without substantial changes that we must make."
7 Apr 2013

New PSC chair Gallagher raps wind power

In a clear reference to wind power, Gallagher said all five of the PSC's Republican members "campaigned against the concept of using the utility bill to force Montana's families and employers to be unwilling investors in high-cost, low-output, intermittent generation and other programs that at present can exist only through government mandates and substantial tax and ratepayer subsidies."
8 Jan 2013

Is wind worth it? Industry pushes to extend subsidy

The wind-power production tax credit pays project owners $22 for every megawatt hour (mwh) of electricity they produce. In the Pacific Northwest right now, spot-market prices for electricity are averaging $25 per mwh. So, while sellers of other types of power get $25 per mwh, a wind-power plant will get $47 per mwh, with the subsidy.
24 Dec 2012

Low wholesale electricity prices making waves in Montana's power industry

Van Jamison, a vice president for Gaelectric, an Irish firm developing several wind projects in Montana, says in the past few months, scores of potential wind projects here have withdrawn their spot from the queue for transmission of their power, meaning they've pulled back on their plans. "This is not a very robust market, where you'll be able to make any kind of money any time soon."
23 Dec 2012

Renewable theology vs. economic reality, Part 2

The economic consequence of making a product that costs more to produce than its market value is universally accepted, except for “green energy” products. The success or failure of renewable energy companies is determined by their success at lobbying government and campaign donations. It is a working business model, but it is best to have an exit plan.
24 Nov 2012

PPL Montana officials discuss potential shutdown of Corette plant

After PPL Montana announced a plan to mothball its J.E. Corette power plant in Billings, likely eliminating 35 jobs and dealing a blow to the local economy, some blamed federally subsidized wind power as the culprit. ..."The wind was brought in to create jobs and to clear carbon emissions, but they've done neither," Winger said. "We're subsidizing a type of industry that can't make it on its own and replacing jobs with unsustainable work."
22 Sep 2012

Bird conflict with wind farms

When it comes to species of concern, there's a lot to look at. Researchers want to document where active nests are using pictures and GPS coordinates. They want to know what kind of birds are in the area, and how they use the habitat for hunting and raising their young.
3 Jun 2012

Bird conflict with wind farms

The hawks and eagles have been here for generations, they've grown accustomed to the habitat. Now, construction and wind turbines are changing the landscape. "One of the ways that wind turbines come in conflict with birds of prey is the chance of collision, where they'll fly in, and they can be killed by the turbines," Platt says.
4 May 2012

PSC approves wind power deal on 3-2 vote

"Two Republican commissioners, Bill Gallagher of Helena and Brad Molnar of Laurel, voted against approving the project, saying that allowing NorthWestern to buy the project and charge the costs to ratepayers transfers too much risk to the customer. ...NorthWestern and could shift the risk of its variable costs away from the consumer by arranging to buy just the project's power.
15 Feb 2012
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