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RNP Press Release
September 26, 2011

Montana Governor Receives Bolo Tie, Recognition from Renewable Energy Advocates

Big Sky, MT. (September 26, 2011) — Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer was today honored by Renewable Northwest Project - a leading non-profit regional advocacy group - for his leadership in supporting Montana’s generous endowment of renewable energy. The Governor received this recognition at the Western Wind and Transmission Leadership Summit in Big Sky, along with a custom bolo tie featuring iconic Montana designs.

 

The bolo tie was presented by Jeff Fox, Montana-based policy advocate for Renewable Northwest Project. Joining Fox were Gaelectric of North America President Eamonn McGrath and NaturEner CEO José María Sánchez Seara, renewable industry leaders and Montana Wind Group members. The presenters identified Governor Schweitzer as a leader in accomplishing key milestones toward realizing the great potential of Montana’s renewable energy resources and related economic and workforce benefits.

 

“Montana would not be where it is today as a significant renewable energy leader if not for the Governor’s vision and action,” Fox said. “We are grateful for his dedication and honored to present him with this custom Montana-shaped bolo tie as a token of our appreciation.”

 

Governor Schweitzer’s vigilant efforts to capitalize on Montana’s renewable resource abundance spurred a policy and business environment that attracted leading renewable energy companies, which are key contributors to the state workforce and economy. Business leaders thanked the Governor for his leadership and its impact on their development success.

 

“Gaelectric identified Montana as a prime place to do business, based on the abundance of resources and the right business climate for our projects, “ said McGrath “Our workforce is growing in Montana and we envision success with new projects, and we wish to express our gratitude to Governor Schweitzer for welcoming our business.”

 

“NaturEner employs 42 workers on operating wind farms in Montana and has an additional three projects in the works in the state, which will bring added construction projects and permanent jobs. Had it not been for the supportive policies and vision driven by the Governor, this degree of progress may not have been possible,” said Sánchez Seara.

 

Highlights of Governor Schweitzer’s support for renewable energy include:

 

  • 2005 – Governor Schweitzer passed the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard, a landmark piece of legislation that requires Montana utilities to supply 15 percent renewable energy to Montana customers by 2015.  This signal piece of legislation jump-started several renewable energy projects in Montana including the state’s first major wind farm.  Prior to the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard, Montana produced less than 1 MW of wind energy, and now nearly 400 MW is produced within the state with more projects in-line.
  • 2007 – The Governor passed clean and green energy legislation that put Montana at the forefront of the nation in offering tax incentives for renewable and low carbon energy development, attracting renewable energy developers to the state.  In addition, he created the Energy Promotion and Development Division to facilitate the continued development of clean energy in Montana.  The Governor also became a full partner of the Western Climate Initiative to curb carbon emissions and move America to a new energy economy. 
  • 2009 –Montana was selected by the Department of Energy as a two-year recipient of funds to facilitate the continued development of wind energy across the state.  The governor’s office partnered with private industry to develop the M.O.R.E. Power wind farm optimization tool to optimize the selection of renewable energy network sites such as wind and solar.
  • 2010 – As Chairman of the Western Governor’s Association, Schweitzer also brought increased political attention to the need for additional electrical transmission to accommodate renewable energy development, publishing the Transmission Roadmap report during his tenure.  The Governor with the Montana University System established the Montana Green Campus program to provide a gateway for students that emphasizes green education, research, and energy-related careers. In addition, Schweitzer joined the Montana Clean Technology Alliance to promote continued investment in green technology.
  • 2011 –As a result of the continued efforts of Governor Schweitzer, the Montana Alberta Tie Limited, a 600 MW, 215 mile merchant transmission line connecting Great Falls, MT and Lethbridge, Alberta transmitting wind energy, should be completed by year’s end triggering a new 309 MW wind farm.  He is also partnering with several groups to independently study major transmission sitting issues and vetoed several bills passed by the state legislature that would have undermined renewable energy in Montana.

 

“Strong leadership has resulted in Montana making great headway in the renewable energy industry,” Fox noted. “We celebrate Governor Schweitzer’s legacy and look forward to working to achieve continued growth for clean energy and the economic opportunities it brings.”

 

Renewable Northwest Project is a regional nonprofit advocacy organization promoting the responsible development of renewable energy resources. For more information, visit www.rnp.org.

 

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For more information contact:

Erin Greeson, Communications Manager

(503) 223-4544

erin@rnp.org

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