Posts Tagged ‘Marty Wilde’

More Wind Turbines Potentially Coming to Fairfield – KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

More Wind Turbines Potentially Coming to Fairfield

Posted: Jan 10, 2015 5:11 PM MST Updated: Jan 10, 2015 7:41 PM MST

On a farm in Fairfield 6 wind turbines already generate 10 megawatts, which supplies about 2,000 average residential houses annually, but developers are trying to build more of them.

“It will be 15 more turbines just like these, maybe slightly bigger,” said Marty Wilde Principal Engineer at Wind Data.

Wilde said they will add 25 megawatts of renewable energy into the Northwest Energy grid. Wind turbines currently cost about 2 million dollars a megawatt, but Wilde said there are advantages.

“The main advantage is the carbon free generation and how it addressees some of the green house gases and the climate change issues,” said Marty Wilde Principal Engineer at Wind Data.

Wind turbines in other states have killed endangered birds, but that has not been the case in Fairfield.

“Out here we haven’t had any impact and we have ongoing post construction studies,” said Marty Wilde Principal Engineer at Wind Data.

Wilde said building more turbines will bring construction jobs, more local tax dollars to the county, and money to farmers who provide the land.

“There is really no investment on our part other than having to farm around them and it creates income so for sure it helps, and that income helps the community,” said Reece Brown with K Farms

The next set of 15 wind turbines for the “Greenfield Wind Project” would be built this year and is expected to be done by this coming fall, but none of them will be built unless the Montana Public Service Commission approves it first.

“There have been a lot of challenges one again, that’s why we are so excited to be in front of the PSC like we are now looking for this approval for this next wind farm here,” said Marty Wilde Principal Engineer at Wind Data.

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PSC asked to reconsider Fairfield wind farm

The developer of a proposed wind farm near Fairfield asked the Montana Public Service Commission on Thursday to reconsider its prior denial of a power purchase settlement with NorthWestern Energy, which has blocked the project.

Greenfield Wind LLC of Fairfield hopes to construct the wind farm by this fall, said Martin Wilde. Greenfield is a partnership between Wilde, the CEO of Fairfield-based WINData, LLC and Foundation Wind Power in San Francisco.

The wind farm’s 15 General Electric turbines would produce 25 megawatts of electrical generation capacity. That’s enough to power 5,000 to 7,000 homes annually. The turbines would be 262 feet tall, which is 26 stories, with 328-foot-long rotor blades, a bit more than a football field. That would make them the largest turbines in Montana, Wilde said.

The Greenfield wind farm is planned eight miles northeast of Fairfield, just east of the 10-megwatt, six-turbine Fairfield wind project. That project became operational May 17. WINData and Foundation Wind Power also partnered on that project, and NorthWestern is purchasing that power.

Greenfield will be located on dry, non-irrigated land leased from four landowners.

PSC members voted 3-2 Dec. 16 to reject the settlement agreement on the power purchase price between NorthWestern and Greenfield.

Wilde said the decision came as a surprise, and Greenfield on Thursday filed a motion asking the PSC to reconsider. NorthWestern also filed a motion asking the PSC to clarify why it denied the power purchase agreement.

“It gives Greenfield the opportunity to basically take a bite at the apple with a different proposal,” said Brad Johnson, the chairman of the PSC.

Johnson was not on the commission during the first vote.

Wilde is hoping for a different result the second time around.

The 25-year purchase agreement calls for NorthWestern purchasing the power for $53.99 per megawatt hour, Wilde said. Greenfield would pay $3.50 for wind integration services, making NorthWestern’s net purchase price $50.49 per megawatt hour. Wind integration is necessary for grid reliability.

NorthWestern used a price of $58.32 per megawatt hour as a benchmark when it asked for approval from the PSC to purchase hydroelectrical facilities from PPL Montana, Wilde said.

“We’re coming in cheaper than the benchmarks, and that discount flows to NorthWestern’s ratepayers,” he said.

Along with the clean power, construction of the wind farm will produce local jobs for engineers, electricians, cement companies and surveyors and taxes for Teton County, he said.

It would be built by Dick Anderson Construction out of Great Falls, which also built the first wind farm.

As a rule of thumb, it costs $2 million a megawatt to build a wind farm, Wilde said.

John Hines, NorthWestern’s vice president of supply, said Greenfield came to NorthWestern energy with the project.

“We believe our portfolio is getting fairly full for this type of energy — intermittent wind energy,” he said.

The company already is purchasing about 250 megawatts of wind power, or about 14 percent of its total energy requirements, Hines said

However, the utility is obligated to enter contracts with “qualifying facilities” such as Greenfield as a result of a President Jimmy Carter-era federal law designed to diversify the energy portfolio of utilities and stimulate production of alternative energy, he said.

The settlement agreement before the PSC, he said, is “a good faith effort on our part.”

“We can’t go forward without regulatory approval,” Hines said.

The cost of the wind power is higher than market alternatives, he said. The impact of the purchase from Greenfield on ratepayers hasn’t been calculated, but would be very small, he said.

Reach Tribune Staff Writer Karl Puckett at 406-791-1471 or kpuckett@greatfallstribune

.com. Twitter: @GFTrib_KPuckett.

via PSC asked to reconsider Fairfield wind farm.

MISSOULIAN EDITORIAL: PSC should approve wind power deal

December 28, 2014 7:00 am

Even as one of the biggest wind energy projects in Montana broke ground near Bridger this month, the state’s Public Service Commission was deciding to deny a contract between NorthWestern Energy and the developers of a new wind power project. That decision, if allowed to stand, bodes ill for new wind development in Montana in the immediate future.

Greenfield Wind is proposing a 25-megawatt wind-power project near Fairfield. The agreement between NorthWestern and Greenfield would allow the energy company to buy power from the wind farm for $54 per megawatt-hour for the next 25 years. That, as reports have pointed out, is less than the cost of power from the 11 hydroelectric dams NorthWestern bought earlier this year.

The PSC approved that purchase, which will provide power at a rate of about $57 to $58 per mWh — even though the deal could cost ratepayers as much as $800 million in excess costs, according to one expert analysis, and will mean a direct rate increase for NorthWestern’s electric customers of more than 5 percent.

With that recent history, it was perplexing to see the PSC get hung up on the wind power agreement on a 3-2 vote. Apparently, the three commissioners who voted against the deal have concerns that NorthWestern was putting itself on the hook to purchase energy it may not need.

NorthWestern, not surprisingly, disagrees with the commissioners’ conclusion. What is somewhat surprising is that the PSC’s own staff, after reviewing the agreement, noted that adding the wind energy from this contract to NorthWestern’s portfolio would actually result in lower costs for consumers.

It’s also worth mentioning that even as the PSC was deciding against this deal, wind power developers across the nation were seizing an opportunity afforded by Congress in the final days of the session through a wind production tax credit. The credit applies only to new projects started this year, and with only a few days left in the year, developers are hurrying to get their shovels in the ground.

The developers of the 120-turbine Mud Springs Wind Ranch in Carbon County were among them. Thanks to the tax credit, the $550 million project stands to recoup 2.3 cents for every kilowatt hour of power it produces.

Meanwhile, U.S. Sen Jon Tester, D-Mont., was among those calling for a long-term extension of wind production tax credits starting in the new year. He seems to understand that such incentives help encourage new wind power development, and that Montana, as one of the places in the nation with the most wind potential, is in a prime position to gain from increased wind development.

This kind of activity at the state and federal level helps point which way the wind is blowing. But even setting all that aside, PSC Commissioners Bob Lake, who represents the region that includes Missoula, and Travis Kavulla found nothing in the duly negotiated contract between NorthWestern and Greenfield worth killing the deal; rather, they found that the mutually beneficial settlement to be in the best interests of NorthWestern’s 340,000 ratepayers in Montana.

Greenfield officials have said they plan to ask the PSC to reconsider its decision. This time, the three commissioners who voted to deny the deal — Roger Koopman, Kirk Bushman and commission chair Bill Gallagher — ought to pay closer attention to the information provided by their own staff and the arguments of their colleagues on the commission.

via MISSOULIAN EDITORIAL: PSC should approve wind power deal.

Fairfield Wind ready to go online mid-May 2014

Turbine #3 operating at the 10MW wind project near Fairfield, Montana. the project was developed by WINData LLC of Great Falls Montana, financed by Foundation Windpower and constructed by Dick Anderson Construction of Great Falls. The output will be sold to NorthWestern Energy under a 20-year contract.

Wind farms face major challenges across Montana | KPAX.com | Missoula, Montana


Wind farms face major challenges across Montana | KPAX.com | Missoula, Montana.

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