Montana Harnessing the Wind

Doug Barba, Executive Vice-President of Ameresco Inc, has announced that over nine months of research at their wind energy site in Cut Bank, Montana has confirmed the commercial viability of a major wind energy installation at that site.

FRAMINGHAM, Massachusetts – May 1, 2002 [SolarAccess.com] “It’s better than we thought in terms of velocity and consistency. We also found that our site will generate power at the time that Montanans need it the most. We have the best wind during the daylight hours in the coldest months,” Barba said. “This will justify an investment of over US$150,000,000 in a Montana wind project by our company.” Ameresco, the 99 percent owner of Montana Wind Harness, is evaluating the wind potential of major sites in Montana. The evaluation process involves erecting 150 foot towers on each site and placing an instrument called an anemometer on top of each tower to monitor the speed, direction and duration of the wind at that site. Commercial banks require at least six months of satisfactory wind data before a site is deemed “commercial”. The determination that this project is commercial allows banks to provide the millions of dollars required to construct up to 40 large wind turbines at this site. Montana Wind Harness has a contract with Northwestern Energy (formerly Montana Power) to develop 150 MW of wind power on three major sites in Montana. Montana Wind Harness will be concluding its wind research at other sites in the months to come. “We are pleased to hear about the data from the Cut Bank site. It confirms our belief that wind energy can play an important role in our energy portfolio and that it is a clean, Renewable Energy resource with commercial potential in our state,” said Bill Pascoe, the Vice President of Energy Supply for Northwestern Energy. The site, located East of Cut Bank, has been leased by Montana Wind Harness from a local ranch owner. Montana Wind Harness has committed to build up to 115, 1.3 MW wind turbines in Montana. “European countries committed to wind power in a major way about 20 years ago” said Barba. “Over the years, they have pushed the technology from relatively small machines to the graceful giants that we are going to install here in Montana. Wind has now become the fastest growing energy segment in Europe.”
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