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Community-Owned Wind Farm Planned in Montana

wind and skyLandowners in several Montana counties have banded together to pursue a 500 megawatt wind energy farm.

Landowners in the Montana counties of Judith Basin, Wheatland, Golden Valley and Fergus will share in the revenues from the wind farm, which will be managed by Judith Highlands Energy LLC and National Wind, reports the Flathead Beacon.

The first phase of the development will span 50,000 acres, according to a press release.

In the project, landowners – mostly ranchers – will share both in turbine leases and revenues. Landowners do not have to become company stakeholders in order to participate, reports the Great Falls Tribune.

The first phase will add 100 MW in capacity, while several more stages are planned over the next five to eight years. The first phase will have over 300 turbines.

The next step for the project is build a transmission line for the project. The group is considering the TransCanada Northern Lights project, among others.

The U.S. Department of Energy is financing a large-scale transmission project between Great Falls, Montana, and Lethbridge, Alberta, with the goal of bringing new jobs and expanding renewable energy production to the western region of the country.

The Western Area Power Administration will use its borrowing authority under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to help build the $213 million Montana-Alberta Tie Limited (MATL) transmission project. Almost two-thirds of the 214-mile transmission line will be located on U.S. soil.

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