Montana wind energy industry flying high

KTVQ Billings • Posted: Monday, January 23, 2012

HELENA- Montana’s wind energy industry is flying high in this new year.

Governor Brian Schweitzer says the state is now producing 395 megawatts of installed wind generation capacity.

Just last week, the new 9.6 megawatt Gordon Butte wind farm went on-line near Martinsdale, and near Shelby, work is underway on Nature-Ener’s new 189 megawatt wind farm.

The Gordon Butte wind farm, was developed by Oversight Resources, a Bozeman based developer. It went fully operational on January 4, and has six GE wind turbines installed.

“Big and small, Montana wind farms are developing and increasing the amount of clean and green energy produced from our world class wind resource,” said Schweitzer.

Montana had just 1 MW of wind power online as recently as 2005, but that number will soon grow to 575.

Montana is ranked number one in wind potential for high quality winds of class 3 and above.

The industry is also helping boost Montana’s economy. Since 2005, the governor’s office says $1.5 billion has been invested in Montana wind development.

There are currently over 50 wind and transmission line projects are in various stages of development across the state.

Meanwhile near Shawmut, global energy firm Goldwind USA is planning construction on a new 20 megawatt wind farm, that should be up and running by the end of the year.

Montana Senator Max Baucus, who met with company officials during a trip to China two years ago, made the announcement today.

“I’m pleased to welcome Goldwind to Montana. Along with the local tax revenue and jobs this project will bring, I’m hopeful the Shawmut wind farm will be just the beginning for our new partnership.”

Goldwind is one of the largest wind energy manufacturers in the world, with more than six-thousand turbines currently in service.

Shawmut is located about 75 miles northwest of Billings, along the Musselshell River.