NorthWestern Energy's First Wind Farm is in Full Operation - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

NorthWestern Energy's First Wind Farm is in Full Operation

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Bob Rowe is the CEO of NorthWestern Energy.  At today's dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony of Spion Kop wind farm, Rowe says, "this is the first wind project that we've actually owned".

Fifteen percent of Montana's Energy comes from renewable resources.  Rowe says, "we, at NorthWestern Energy, believe in a diversified portfolio that includes both traditional resources and some of the newer renewable resources and integrating those into a system that will provide over the long term stability, an attractive price, and help us manage environmental impact as well".

Travis Kavulla, Public Service Commissioner serving 19 counties in Montana, says, "it's sort of like a farmer having crop diversity or if you're an investor having diversity in your portfolio; you don't want to put all of your eggs in one basket. You want to bet on a little bit of everything in order to create the least risky portfolio overtime".

This 40 megawatt capacity facility can produce a lot of energy that is converted into electricity.  Kavulla explains, "the long term price of electricity coming from this wind farm is actually less than what people are currently paying on their electric bill".  The levelized price of this electricity is $54 per megawatt hour.

Rowe says, "the exact amount that they can produce is about 1.6 megawatts watts per unit and there are 25 units up here".  That comes down to enough electricity to power 10,000-20,000 houses per year.  Rowe reminds us, though, that integration or traditional and renewable resources is important because "this resource depends on our ability to integrate wind, an intermittent resource, onto our transmission network".

NorthWestern pledges to invest in every part of their network.  The economic impact can already be seen with $8 million being spent on Montana services during construction.  The project is also expected to add $566,000 in property taxes and fees its first year.  Kavulla says, "it grows the tax base and will help fund the schools in Geyser and Judith Basin County".

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