Library from Montana
Dunn said Friday that TransCanada was turning its focus to a similar-sized transmission line called the Zephyr, which is planned to run from southeastern Wyoming to south of Las Vegas. The company successfully solicited bids from wind developers to ship 3,000 megawatts on the Zephyr line.
The $3 billion Chinook transmission project, proposed to ship thousands of megawatts of wind energy from wind-rich Montana to big energy markets, is no longer being pursued by Calgary-based TransCanada because of a lack of interest from wind farm developers.
A controversial power transmission line proposed by NorthWestern Energy will run through Blaine County, though not through the Carey area as previous proposals had indicated. The Sioux Falls, S.D.,-based energy company's project manager, Tom Pankratz, updated Blaine County commissioners on the status of the proposed 500-kilovolt line, called the Mountain States Transmission Intertie, during the commission's regular meeting Tuesday.
Judge Loren Tucker said the state Department of Environmental Quality hadn't done enough to let county officials give input on the best route for the controversial Mountain States Transmission Intertie, or MSTI, power line.
The legislative Energy and Telecommunications Committee met at the end of last month to consider several measures, but Republicans and Democrats on the panel ended in a 4-4 draw over a long-term energy strategy. Republicans on the committee were unhappy that last-minute changes to the legislation de-emphasized support for the state's oil, gas and coal industries, instead favoring the development of alternative and renewable energy sources.
Montana-Dakota Utilities on Thursday filed to increase its electric rates by an average of 13 percent for its Montana customers in Eastern Montana, citing the increased costs of renewable power, such as wind power. ...Goodin said the bulk of the $5.5 million annual increase in rates is to pay for the company's investment in wind power and other renewables.
The company has filed a condemnation complaint on the Salois land to gain access it says is needed for the greater good, but Larry Salois is digging in his heels. He disputes the claim that the project is in the public interest, and he isn't sure whether Tonbridge, which is a for-profit private company based in a foreign country, even has the right to condemn the land. "I'm going to do my best to keep 'em outside of the fence for as long as I can," Salois said.
Montana Public Service Commissioner Brad Molnar, R-Laurel, a frequent critic of wind power, says he believes the market for wind power "is dropping like a rock," because the price of natural gas has plummeted and people don't want to pay for more expensive wind if they don't have to. It's up to wind power developers to show that their electricity is a good deal and as reliable as other power, without government subsidies or promotion, he says.
The state's electric co-ops, which serve half the state's consumers, haven't financed a single project in Montana. ..."We are only going to choose those resources that are best for our ratepayers," says John Hines, chief energy supply officer for NorthWestern. "That's going to exclude a lot of those projects out there. It's no different than working with other types of generation or (power) providers."
On Monday, Montana Alberta Tie Ltd., the developer of the Montana Alberta Tie Line, filed a complaint for condemnation in Glacier County District Court against Larry Salois and Shirley Salois, who live a few miles east of Cut Bank. ...The complaint seeks to condemn an easement under the power of eminent domain. It's the first time Montana Alberta Tie Ltd., a subsidiary of Tonbridge Power Inc. of Toronto, has used condemnation in dealing with Montana landowners.
SDG&E's proposal will face opposition from consumer groups when it goes before the California Public Utilities Commission, said Michael Shames ..."It's a disturbing example of how this Commission's obsession with renewable power results in perverse incentives for utilities," he said. "And a very compelling reason why the regulators have to seriously reassess its tradeable renewable energy credit policy.
San Diego Gas & Electric signed an agreement with developer NaturEner USA to purchase 309 megawatts of power from the $800 million Rim Rock wind farm in Glacier and Toole counties, said Jennifer Ramp, a spokeswoman for SDG & E. In a July 15 filing to the California Public Utilities Commission, SDG & E asked for permission to amend the original power purchase agreement to allow the $600 million equity investment in Rim Rock.
A Canadian company is on the verge of launching construction of a 214-mile energy transmission line that's been six years in the making, according to company officials. The line will be the first to connect the electricity markets of Montana and Alberta.
The $3.25 billion transmission project being proposed to unlock 3,000MW of wind energy potential around Montana is to be evaluated by the region's power marketing administration. Montana's Governor Brian Schweitzer said Grasslands Renewable Energy, the developer of the so-called Wind Spirit Project, will take part in further discussions with the Western Area Power Administration.
The president for Canadian energy giant TransCanada Corp. said last week he still hopes to develop a major power line to transport wind power out of Montana, although so far it has failed to get enough bids to finance the line.
The proposer of two small wind-power projects near Chester said Wednesday he hopes state regulators set a higher rate for the projects' power, after NorthWestern Energy refused to negotiate what he felt was a reasonable purchase price. "They gave us take-it-or-leave-it proposals that made it impossible for us to build the project," said Bret Kenfield, an Oregon accountant who's originally from Chester. "I either had to walk away or go to the Public Service Commission for help."
A Montana renewable energy company says it has the backing of 10 wind farm developers to pursue a sprawling power collection grid serving Montana, North Dakota and Alberta. The announcement by Grasslands Renewable Energy of Bozeman came as the company received initial approval Friday for a reservoir project that would store excess power from the developers' prospective wind farms.
Broadwater County residents are up in arms over a proposed plan by Northwestern Energy to install a new power transmission line and substations costing $127 million, on a minimum of 52 acres, in a field adjacent to Highway 287 south of Townsend. ..."We are exchanging an agriculture-based economy to a transmission tower economy," Hale said. "Our objective is to literally stop the project in Broadwater County. If we can't do that, we need to find a way to move this from productive agricultural lands."
According to a February 2010 wind report and analysis done for the Montana Energy Promotion and Development Office by Energy Strategies, five major transmission projects are planned that would significantly increase the state's capacity to export wind energy.
The Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation said Wednesday that it will consider leasing 26,932 acres of school trust land near Conrad, Cut Bank and Martinsdale to private developers interested in using the property as part of larger commercial wind farms.