Articles from Montana
LIVINGSTON - A Minnesota company interested in developing wind power in this area of Montana is negotiating with landowners, a company spokesman says. Outland Renewable Energy also has been talking to potential investors, said Pat Pelstring of Wind Energy Developers, which works for Outland. The preliminary proposal calls for installation of about 25 wind turbines, each about 400 feet tall. The 2.5-megawatt turbines would occupy an area of 4 or 5 square miles. Pelstring would not disclose specifics of the site, saying no deals are final.
LIVINGSTON - A Minnesota company is proposing to erect about 25 big wind turbines somewhere between here and Springdale. The project is still in its early phases, but Outland Renewable Energy is negotiating with landowners and potential investors here, according to Pat Pelstring of Wind Energy Developers, which is working for Outland. In its initial stages, the 2.5-megawatt turbines, each about 400 feet tall, would be built on 4 or 5 square miles of land.
The man charged with leading power line projects in Wyoming says Montana’s new plan to supply electricity to markets in the Southwest won’t compete with similar plans in Wyoming. In fact, he says, it might even help.
LIVINGSTON - If you are a landowner interested in wind power, attend the Landowner Wind Energy Summit and Tour today and Wednesday.
Gov. Brian Schweitzer, joined by industry executives, announced plans Monday to build one of the longest electricity transmission lines seen in the West in 40 years - a line that would carry “green” energy to big energy markets thousands of miles away. The governor, who has placed coal-to-liquid fuel facilities as one of his top priorities, said he is promising to help TransCanada get environmental permits for the project that the company said could cost $2 billion. If successful, the line would run from the coal fields of Montana to the Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Phoenix energy markets. It would carry electricity created by either wind power or synthetic gas derived from coal to meet clean energy requirements in the Southwest.
Montana for two decades endured a tug-of-war between groups wanting no development in the state and others wanting a no-holds-barred approach, a state official said Tuesday. Evan Barrett said most Montanans are in the middle of those two extremes, and he said Gov. Brian Schweitzer is too. Barrett, the governor's chief business development officer, said the administration wants energy development but wants it done responsibly.
A Canadian company that proposes to construct a power line from Alberta to Great Falls through eastern Teton and Pondera counties is putting the cart before the horse, say farmers along the right of way. Montana Alberta Tie Ltd. of Calgary, Alta., sent letters on Sept. 21 to property owners along the proposed route stating that its agent, SNC Consulting, has the right under the state’s eminent-domain law to enter their lands to survey for a 230-kilovolt power line. Helena attorney Harley Harris signed the letters. According to state law, the right of eminent domain may be exercised for electrical energy lines, but it is silent on whether a private company that would benefit four wind farms has the same rights as a public utility.
HELENA - Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jon Tester has staked a good chunk of his political reputation on his support for alternative energy, like wind power. But when you hear his opponent, U.S. Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont., talk energy policy these days, the two often sound the same. Burns, long seen as a reliable friend of the oil and gas industry, is touting his work on alternative energy, noting that the 2005 federal energy bill contained vital incentives to boost wind power. "We would not have the windmills going up in Montana had it not been for our work in that energy bill," says Burns. "Nothing moved until we got those (tax) credits for wind."
Small power producer Lee Tavenner had heard plenty of talk about promoting “alternative” or “renewable” in Montana - but this week, he’s hoping the talk might translate into action. “I see a state that has gone crazy about wind power, but will not do anything with the best method to promote it,” he said. “This is a tool that can actually implement, rather than just talk, about renewable energy.” Tavenner, who installs solar-power systems and owns a small hydroelectric project near Philipsburg, is talking about an obscure set of federal and state laws that have helped launch independent, alternative-power plants across America since the early 1980s. This week, whether these laws are being enforced properly in Montana comes to a head before the Montana Public Service Commission. In a complex case that’s had scant publicity, the PSC will decide issues that could provide a boost to small wind, hydro or other renewable-power projects.
Gov. Brian Schweitzer touted the state’s economy and energy potential in speeches here and in Billings. “The economic conditions have never been better in Montana,” Schweitzer told City Club Missoula members Monday night. “We have the lowest unemployment rate in the history of our state. If you have a job to fill, you can’t find people.” But he said the prosperity doesn’t extend to eastern Montana. “In eastern Montana, the towns are getting smaller and the age of the population is getting greater and the bright kids are leaving because there are no opportunities for them,” Schweitzer said. Schweitzer then pushed his plan to develop new energy sources in eastern Montana, from the traditional such as coal, to wind power and biofuels.
At the halfway point between the West Coast energy crisis of 2001 and the next major electricity contract renewal year of 2011, a federal power marketing agency is proposing a policy change that could affect rates in the Pacific Northwest for generations and become a national model for energy development. Northwest hydropower is one of the cheapest energy resources in the nation - about half the current market rate for electricity. The Bonneville Power Administration - which sells power in all of Washington, Oregon and Idaho and parts of California, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming and Montana - announced this summer it wants to change the way it charges utilities for its wholesale power, to keep rates low.
PORTLAND, Ore. -- At the halfway point between the West Coast energy crisis of 2001 and the next major electricity contract renewal year of 2011, a federal power marketing agency is proposing a policy change that could affect rates in the Pacific Northwest for generations and become a national model for energy development. Northwest hydropower is one of the cheapest energy resources in the nation - about half the current market rate for electricity. The Bonneville Power Administration - which sells power in all of Washington, Oregon and Idaho and parts of California, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming and Montana - announced this summer that it wants to change the way it charges utilities for its wholesale power to keep rates low.
POPLAR — The Fort Peck Tribes are taking advantage of the ever-present prairie winds to reduce their electric bill. Electricity from two, 50-kilowatt wind turbines began flowing into the Tribal and Bureau of Indian Affairs complex in Poplar this week, and tribal officials expect to cut their power bills by two-thirds, at a savings of $30,000 annually. The planning for the two towers started 10 years ago when a study showed the average wind speed on some spots on the reservation averaged 15 mph, said Tribal Councilman Stoney Anketell, who pushed for the project since 1996.
Wind is free, the fuel source is not imported, it does not use water, has no air emission or solid waste disposal issues and its generation is not affected by increased natural gas prices, but it has two weaknesses. It is uncontrollable and uncertain as an energy source. That variability affects its integration into the region's electrical grid. The power in the wind is proportional to the cube of its speed and doubling the wind speed increases the available power by eight times. In addition, calm days mean zero voltage.
One way to advance wind energy is to try and destroy materials that potentially would make up a blade in a turbine. In a lab at Montana State University, three machines with two steel fists, roughly the size and shape of coffee cans, attempt to break materials. Held between these fists was a wafer of fiberglass and resin. Some of the machines pulled on a wafer, others pushed. “These machines keep grinding away around the clock,” said Montana State University’s John Mandell.
Bozeman - In a little lab on the campus of Montana State University, John Mandell, Dan Samborsky, and scores of students, have been breaking things to advance the field of wind energy.
WASHINGTON — Southern California and the urban centers from Northern Virginia to New York face the most critical power grid problems, but such remote areas as Montana and the Dakotas may need new transmission lines in the near future, an Energy Department report warns.
Before wading too far into discussion of a possible wind farm in the vicinity of Giant Springs Heritage State Park, it's important to note something the developer himself notes: The proposal is very preliminary. On the table is an initial outline of 14 wind turbines on benchland between the Rainbow Dam area east of Giant Springs and Malmstrom Air Force Base.
CASPER - The Natrona County Commission has reversed its denial of permits for three, 180-foot wind monitoring towers east of Evansville.
The development would be directly behind Fish Wildlife & Parks Region 4 headquarters on Giant Springs Road. Gary Bertellotti, regional supervisor for FWP in Great Falls, said Brown notified the office of the proposal and officials have some concerns "Wind power is good for the state," he said. "But our concern is the viewshed right along the river."