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Bozeman Daily Chronicle
January 31, 2012

Recent Montana wind energy projects hint at economic promise

“Steady wind energy polices are paying off.” This might well be the subheading to the recent flurry of articles detailing new wind energy development in Montana. In case you missed the good news, here are the highlights:

First, two weeks ago, wind-energy developer NaturEner announced the start of construction for its 189-megawatt Rim Rock wind farm near Shelby, which is expected to generate enough energy to power more than 60,000 homes, and will offset more than 389,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions per year. If NaturEner’s neighboring 210-megawatt Glacier Wind Farm is any indication of the number of jobs we can expect, Rim Rock will create more than 300 man-years worth of employment in the construction phase, plus dozens of good-paying, permanent jobs once operating.

Next, the new 10-megawatt Gordon Butte wind farm near Martinsdale went online last week. The project is quintessentially Montanan, having been developed by Bozeman’s own Oversight Resources, constructed by Dick Anderson Construction, headquartered in Helena, and financed by Stockman Bank, headquartered in Miles City. These kinds of community wind projects are extremely popular and should be roundly supported as they recycle profits back into the state, to create an even bigger economic impact.

Montana wind is also attracting investment dollars from farther afield. This week, Goldwind, a global turbine manufacturer, announced it would begin construction on a new 20-megawatt wind farm east of Harlowton.

Finally, if the Public Service Commission approves Northwestern Energy’s proposed purchase of the 40-megawatt Spion Kop wind project, a plan that drew the support of the Montana Consumer Counsel, the $86 million project is also expected to be constructed this year.

Individually these projects mean jobs for Montanans, local and state tax revenues, and millions of dollars in royalty payments to landowners. They also mean a cleaner, healthier environment for Montana and America. Collectively, they point toward results on a forward-looking vision of energy, led by Montana policymakers in partnership with local, regional and global businesses.

 


Read the entire Article from the Bozeman Daily Chronicle at:

http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/opinions/guest_columnists/article_32596d84-4c30-11e1-bf82-001871e3ce6c.html 

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