Library from Montana

Invenergy plans two additional central Montana wind farms, buys capacity on proposed transmission line

Chicago-based Invenergy Wind Development LLC, the owner of Montana's second-largest wind farm, is planning to construct two additional wind facilities in the Great Falls region and has agreed to co-develop and co-finance a new transmission line needed to ship the power to market. ...The 350-megawatts Invenergy plans to ship on the line would be generated at wind farms the company has in the works near Belt and Cut Bank, Jacobson said. Construction is expected to begin in two to five years.
10 Apr 2010

BLM, DEQ delay transmission line impact statement

The United States Department of Interior, Bureau of Land Management, and the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) have pushed back the date for a joint draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed Mountain States Transmission Intertie (MSTI) Project. ...A 90-day comment period will follow the release of the draft EIS.
2 Apr 2010

Wind deal could take Montana energy to West Coast

Officials with a renewable energy developer based in Ireland said Wednesday the company has paid $3.5 million to reserve priority position on the Bonneville Power Administration's interstate transmission system - a move that will allow wind power produced in Montana to be distributed to the West Coast.
25 Mar 2010

The little power plant that could; Small facility south of Butte can help light 40,000 homes

This small nondescript building, where the sound of whirring engines can barely be heard just feet away from the plant, enough electricity is produced to light more than 40,000 homes. The natural-gas-fired operation, which came online in 2006 ...The plant can go from a dead stop to fully operational in nine minutes, providing the perfect complement to the wind power coming from Judith Gap in Central Montana. "Wind obviously doesn't blow evenly all day long," Markovich said. "This helps us fill in the gaps."
1 Mar 2010

PSC commissioner questions cost to customers if power lines go through

As huge power line projects in Montana are being pitched as the catalyst for a new wave of wind power development, Public Service Commissioner Brad Molnar, R-Laurel, is asking whether these lines might end up harming Montana electricity consumers. Molnar has been traveling the state and writing newspaper columns, arguing that the lines could lead to higher rates for Montanans.
31 Jan 2010

Some landowners want a more farm-friendly deal from Tonbridge

Some Montana farmers still are worried about how the Montana Alberta Tie Line will affect farming operations and say they want impacts minimized before they sign final agreements with developer Tonbridge Power Co. "We want it done as farming friendly as possible, and we've had to really work on this," said Lee Otness, who farms near Brady.
17 Jan 2010

MATL could unleash torrent of wind projects

A biting wind whipped across the snow-covered Montana prairie as Clayton Larsen and John Mattheis took soil samples from 30 feet below the surface north of Conrad late last week. The men, who work for SK Geotechnical in Billings, are helping to build the $215 million, 230-kilovolt Montana Alberta Tie Line - a transmission line that could be the key to the future of wind development in the region.
17 Jan 2010

Montana opens tract of state land for wind farm development

Montana's Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) says it has received a request from Sansur Renewable Energy asking that 7,256 acres of state-owned land be opened for possible development of a 100 megawatt wind farm. In response, DNRC on Wednesday issued a request for proposals to open the acreage to competitive bids.
15 Jan 2010

Montana Supreme Court: PSC must set electricity rate for Whitehall-area wind project

Whitehall Wind, which is controlled by Gamesa, proposed a 50-megawatt wind farm in Jefferson County in the early 2000s, and sought to sell power to NorthWestern under a federal law that says utilities must buy power from small, independent generators of "renewable" power. The law says if the utility and the power-project developer can't agree to a contract, the Public Service Commission must set rates and conditions for a contract.
6 Jan 2010

PSC fines city utility over lack of renewables

Great Falls' municipal utility arm, Electric City Power, faces a $23,260 fine from the state Public Service Commission for failing to obtain renewable energy credits in 2008. In a unanimous vote at a work session last Tuesday, the PSC voted 5-0 to fine Electric City Power, rejecting city requests for leniency.
1 Dec 2009

National Wind announces 500-megawatt, four county Montana project

Minneapolis-based National Wind LLC on Monday announced the formation of Judith Highlands Energy LLC, and plans to develop more than 500 megawatts of community-owned wind projects in four central-Montana counties. The project's first phase incorporates more than 50,000 acres in Judith Basin, Wheatland, Golden Valley and Fergus counties.
30 Nov 2009

Wind leases: 30 years with no parole

In the case of wind leases, any mistakes stay with you for at least 30 years and then you can move on. Each turbine cost about $2 million, and most wind projects have about 150 turbines, which may justify such a long-term commitment with all of its promises and pitfalls. “The property value of the personal property of the (wind-farm) infrastructure dwarfs the value of the real property, the land,” Lund said.
26 Nov 2009

Commission approves MATL funding

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission announced Thursday that it has approved a $161 million loan to the company building the Montana Alberta Tie Line between Great Falls and Lethbridge. The Western Area Power Administration will loan Toronto-based Tonbridge Power Inc. - the project's developer - money with funds from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009, also known as the federal stimulus bill.
20 Nov 2009

Companies unveil power line proposal

Canadian and Irish companies announced plans Friday to build a 100-mile-long power line in Montana that could prompt construction of wind farms in the Great Falls area by giving developers access to large out-of-state markets hungry for renewable energy. ...Construction of the transmission line would spur the construction of wind projects near it, Jamison said. Gaelectric is studying wind farm construction at several sites across the state, including near Fort Benton and Havre.
7 Nov 2009

Canadian, Irish companies pursue MT power project

A Canadian transmission company and an Irish wind developer said Friday they are teaming up to pursue a central Montana power project that could result in at least $1 billion worth of new wind energy in the Great Falls area. If the project succeeds, it would give Montana's burgeoning wind energy industry room to grow - an expansion that to date has been limited by a lack of lines to move power out of the state.
6 Nov 2009

Canadian court green lights MATL green light

The developer of a $213 million transmission line being eagerly awaited by wind developers said construction is set to begin following the decision Thursday by the Supreme Court of Canada to refuse to hear an appeal of the project's permit. With the court's decision, all avenues for legal challenges have been exhausted and Montana Alberta Tie Ltd. will now be able to begin construction on both sides of the border by December.
23 Oct 2009

Montana, Wyoming wind power sought for $3B lines

A Canadian company is seeking wind power developers to move electricity along a pair of $3 billion transmission lines in Montana and Wyoming -- potentially spurring a major increase in renewable power exported from the Rockies to the Southwest. The two lines would move 3,000 megawatts of power from each state. That's more than three times as much wind power as Wyoming currently produces and eight times what Montana has.
24 Sep 2009

Turbine repairman

Blade repairs are tricky, Moya said, because the weight and thickness of the repair materials have to be perfectly matched to the blade. Otherwise, a blade ends up lighter or heavier than the others on the windmill, causing the entire apparatus to wobble like an unbalanced tire and ultimately fall apart. "We send images of the damage to our engineers in Houston. They send detailed blueprints back about what needs to be replaced," Moya said.
20 Sep 2009
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