Library filed under General from Montana
A Calgary-based energy company said Wednesday it won't build a 21-megawatt wind farm in Montana because it won't be paid enough for the power it generates. The Public Service Commission approved a price of $23.30 per megawatt hour.
A wind farm developer is suing the Montana Public Service Commission and NorthWestern Energy, alleging discriminatory pricing for small renewable energy developers, a charge they denied.
The facility called the Gordon Butte Pumped Storage Project would use excess power produced by wind farms or other sources to pump water uphill to a 3,000-foot long reservoir, according to the license.
The PSC set the price Greycliff could charge NorthWestern Energy at $45.49 per megawatt hour, about 16 percent lower than the price needed to make the wind farm profitable. Greycliff was first proposed seven years ago. ...Greycliff needed a price in the mid-$50s, which would have been similar to the wind energy rate for Spion Kop Wind Project,
Customers who sign up send their energy bills to Arcadia and pay a small premium — about 1.5 cents per kilowatt hour of energy used. Arcadia then pays NorthWestern its share of the bill and uses the premium to invest in wind projects around the nation — none in Montana — with each investment theoretically offsetting carbon emissions used to provide that customer with power.
Between Livingston and Billings the freeway passes through little towns easily forgotten, like Greycliff, a small community 10 miles east of Big Timber. The wind whips through there, which excites Rhyno Stinchfield. What’s an annoyance for some is opportunity to him.
The developers still have to persuade the Public Service Commission that there’s enough local ownership of the project to qualify as a Community Renewable Energy Project. In June, the PSC rejected Greycliff Wind because it wasn’t convinced that local owners had a 50 percent stake in the income, equity and voting rights of the company.
NaturEner, which owns and operates the Glacier Wind wind farms in Glacier and Toole counties, is offering a $2,500 reward for information on the gunshot vandalism of one of its turbines.
Construction of a 25-megawatt, 15-tower wind farm is expected to begin Monday seven miles north of here, following difficult negotiations between the developer and NorthWestern Energy, which will purchase the power.
The developer of a proposed wind farm near Fairfield asked the Montana Public Service Commission on Thursday to reconsider its prior denial of a power purchase settlement with NorthWestern Energy, which has blocked the project.
Commission Chairman Bill Gallagher, R-Helena, led the argument against the Greenfield contract, saying there would be many times during the 25-year contract that NorthWestern wouldn’t need the power it had to buy from Greenfield. NorthWestern then would have to sell that excess power into the market, sometimes at a loss, and “the difference in that price is going to be left to the consumer,” he said.
Spanish developer NaturEner is denying fraud allegations by California offtaker San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) in a legal dispute over the 189MW Rim Rock wind farm in Montana. The utility claims NaturEner fraudulently concealed that the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) recommended the developer get an eagle take permit for the project.
A California utility that invested in a Montana wind farm has accused the developer of fraudulently concealing that federal wildlife officials recommended the project get a permit in case it harms eagles.
A subsidiary of gas utility owner New Jersey Resources will spend $22 million to acquire and build a wind farm in Montana, its first onshore wind project, the company said Wednesday.
At the turbine's current rate of power production, it would take the county 33.70 years to recover its $201,924 investment ..."We needed to get a payback in 25 years because that was the expected life of the unit," Commission Chairman Joe Briggs said. The turbine currently is idle because of a parts malfunction, which isn't helping matters.
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."
"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.
Early last month, Invenergy withdrew as an official party in the case before the Montana Public Service Commission, saying its participation had become too expensive. A week later, NorthWestern Energy asked the PSC to strike Invenergy's comments from the record, calling them "self-serving allegations" that are false.
State District Judge John McKeon in Helena said in his Oct. 5 ruling that the DNRC did not adequately consider the cumulative impacts of the turbines, among other shortcomings. DNRC director Mary Sexton said Tuesday the department was still reviewing the decision.
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.