$72 Million in Special Bonds Awarded to Montana Wind Power Projects

December 04, 2006

Montana will receive $72 million in Clean Renewable Energy Bonds to finance 34 new wind power projects in the state, U.S. Senator from Montana Max Baucus announced during a Web conference on December 1. All the projects combined will generate an estimated 65 megawatts (MW) of electricity.

"It’s not small change,” said Baucus. "Seventy-two million is a shot in the arm for the state."

The special bonds, which are effectively interest free, will allow 32 cities and counties and two electric cooperatives to build wind facilities across the northeastern and southeastern areas of the state. The wind projects are expected to create jobs in power plant construction and to maintain and operate the wind farm after construction is complete.

The recipient of the largest grant among those awarded in Montana was Green Electricity Buying Cooperative, based in Billings. It received $31.7 million for the development of two wind farms in McCone and Yellowstone counties, which are expected to produce about 20 MW of power.

The Montana award is part of a nationwide allocation of $800 million in Clean Renewable Energy Bonds for 610 renewable energy projects across the United States, announced by the IRS on November 20. Baucus, along with U.S. Senator from Iowa Charles Grassley, has worked in Congress to create the bond program and has pledged to extend it when he becomes chairman of the Finance Committee in 2007.

The IRS allocated the bonds under a new program established by the Energy Policy Act of 2005. For more information on these bonds, see the November 29 issue of EERE Network News.

Source: December 2 news story in the Great Falls Tribune.