Library filed under Impact on Economy from Montana
Gilbert's order does not appear to prevent SDG&E from backing out of a separate 2012 contract in which it pledged to invest $285 million in the project. But after NaturEner filed its own suit in Montana, Gilbert on Monday ordered SDG&E to continue making payments to NaturEner until attorneys for the two sides appear in her court.
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developing several wind projects in Montana, says in the past few months, scores of potential wind projects here have withdrawn their spot from the queue for transmission of their power, meaning they've pulled back on their plans.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."
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.
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 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."
Financing prospects for large-scale energy projects in Montana have dimmed with the crisis on Wall Street, but some that already are under way should proceed as planned, state officials and developers said. ...Gov. Brian Schweitzer told The Associated Press in a recent interview that several companies assured him their projects will not be derailed by the downturn. Still, he cautioned that the recent heady pace of development could end if the economic outlook remains grim and banks stay reluctant — or unable — to make large loans.
Glacier County Commissioners Michael DesRosier and Ron Rides At The Door approved distributing $100,000 of NaturEner's $188,943 Wind Generation Impact Fee to the Glacier County Road Department for operations in FY 2008-09. The action came during the commissioners' session on Monday, Aug. 18. Chairman John Ray is on vacation and did not attend Monday's meeting nor did Clerk and Recorder Glenda Hall who is attending a conference this week.
Glacier County Commissioners are discussing how to use nearly $190,000 in impact fees from a planned wind farm near Cut Bank. Commissioners were supposed to approve allocation of the fees June 9, but a decision was tabled until Glacier County attorney Larry Epstein could attend the meeting, according to the Cut Bank Pioneer Press.
Jan Falstad said that wind had gone from being "technologically challenged and too expensive - to being a popular and mandated goal." Perhaps more accurately, it should have read, "Wind has gone from being technically challenged and too expensive - to being technically challenged, mandated and taxpayer subsidized."
Because NorthWestern operates the transmission lines, the utility must meet federal reliability standards. That means keeping the power entering the system balanced with the demand, or electricity leaving the system. You might imagine wind power as a child playing with a light switch: On. Off. On. Off. That means NorthWestern must quickly dump or add power to balance its transmission lines. When the turbines at Judith Gap produce too much power, NorthWestern sells it back mainly to Idaho Power, sometimes below cost, according to former Royal Johnson, a Billings businessman, a former state senator and a member of The Gazette editorial board. When there isn't enough wind, NorthWestern may have to pay a premium, Johnson said, of up to $130 per megawatt hour. .........Montana has tons of proposed power projects cued up, Gates said, but one project depends on the other. "They need transmission built, and the question is which gets built first," Gates said. "So it's the chicken-and-the-egg thing." Another note of caution was sounded by Bill Drummond, who heads the Western Montana Generation and Transmission. His customers buy wholesale power from BPA, but those contracts run out in four years. Drought and rising demand is tapping the hydropower resources, so BPA is keeping its supply for its closest customers. Right now there are few sellers of electricity to back up wind power, Drummond said. "Faith-based power marketing is a dangerous thing," he said.