Alt Energy Essay

739 WordsMay 1, 20123 Pages
In Montana, Schweitzer follows what could be described as a "Field of Dreams" approach to developing the state's green economy. In other words, build wind farms and companies that provide supporting technologies-and jobs-will come. So far, Montana's clean energy incentives appear to be working. NaturEner is spending billions to construct wind farms in the state. Last October, the company opened the state's largest wind farm, a 210-megawatt facility in Glacier County. It's also in planning stages to open a second, even larger 309-megawatt facility a few miles north of the Glacier farm. These wind farms have already created hundreds of temporary and full-time jobs. NaturEner's wind farms dwarf even the massive Judith Gap wind farm built by Invenergy. That 135-megawatt facility began operation in 2005 and features more than 90 wind turbines. It also generated hundreds of construction jobs and about a dozen full-time jobs, filled primarily by residents of the nearby and remote town of Harlowton. "We took advantage of [an incentive] for new and emerging businesses for our first two wind projects there in Toole County," says NaturEner's Alexander, adding that the incentive is why the company is pursuing development of a third wind farm in the state. "The Rim Rock project is a 309-megawatt project that should go to construction sometime this winter. It will have 206 turbines. The one we just finished was 140 turbines, so this one will be 50 percent larger than that." Schweitzer hopes this activity will spur technical breakthroughs that make clean power generation more practical. For instance, better storage technology would reduce the need for expensive transmission lines, a key concern for wind power and other renewable energy sources that generate electricity far from population centers. "We actually have an unlimited supply of energy, whether it be tidal or wind or

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