Library from Montana

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developing several wind projects in Montana, says in the past few months, scores of potential wind projects here have withdrawn their spot from the queue for transmission of their power, meaning they've pulled back on their plans.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

Don't forget birds as nation's wind boom develops

Among the birds nesting along the cliffs are the state's highest concentration of rare Ferruginous hawks - 24 nests were documented there in one year - and federally protected golden eagles. Unfortunately, it has become a matter of increasing concern nationally that the giant turbines can cause high mortality among bats and birds, including raptors.
17 Jan 2012

DOE inspector slams federal oversight of MATL powerline loan

"The MATL experience to date raises questions about the sufficiency and effectiveness of internal controls that Western had in place," the report stated. "The stalled wind power transmission project is clearly at risk with the outcome uncertain. In the event of a project failure, Western and ultimately the U.S. taxpayer could bear a large financial burden."
8 Nov 2011

Order of Summary Judgement: Court halts lease of state land to Coyote Wind LLC

Engwis_order_of_summary_judgment_1_thumb A suit filed against the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) challenged the adequacy of the Agency's Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed Coyote Wind energy facility. A portion of the wind energy project would be located on State-owned lands. The court found that there was clear and convincing evidence that the DNRC's decision to issue a lease to Coyote Wind was arbitrary and capricious and not in compliance with the law. The ruling by Judge John C. McKeon can be downloaded by clicking on the link at the bottom of the page.
5 Oct 2011
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