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Ranchers Declare Energy Independence in Montana

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  • Jennifer Grove
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE MONTANA S FIRST COOPERATIVE WIND TURBINES TO BE DEDICATED Ranchers Declare Energy Independence in Judith Basin and Glacier County,
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 2, 2003
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      Ranchers Declare Energy Independence in Judith Basin and Glacier County,

      STANFORD, MT - October 1, 2003 - A declaration of energy independence by
      two Montana ranchers and a Liberty County maintenance shop will be
      celebrated in a dedication ceremony on Tuesday, October 14th, for the
      state's first cooperatively-owned wind turbine installations.

      The dedication will take place at 10 a.m. at the home of Stanford
      rancher-farmer Jess Alger. It will celebrate the start-up of 10 kilowatt
      wind turbines by Alger, East Glacier bison rancher Doug Nelson and a
      Liberty County maintenance shop. An open house will be held the
      following day at the Nelson ranch. Among those slated to attend the
      dedication are state and local political leaders, representatives from
      agricultural organizations and utilities, and government agency staff.

      The small-scale wind machines featured at the dedication go on line this
      fall. Unlike larger utility-scale machines that make up most wind farms,
      the three small-scale machines will primarily serve on-site electrical
      needs. The surplus of energy generated will be fed into the power grid
      for use by other utility customers.

      The move to begin harvesting Montana's rich wind resources came about
      with funding from the Our Wind Co-op, a partnership that invests in
      locally-owned, small-scale wind turbines on farms, ranches and rural
      facilities across the Northwest. The co-op model is different from most
      wind development models in the U.S., where rural landowners and
      communities have participated primarily by leasing land to wind

      "Leasing is a good deal for landowners but ownership is even better,"
      notes Heather Rhoads-Weaver, who as director of the nonprofit Northwest
      Sustainable Energy for Economic Development (SEED) was instrumental in
      forming Our Wind Co-op. "If you own a turbine all the money from selling
      power stays in your hands. That spells a healthier farm and rural

      The first turbine supported by Our Wind Co-op went on line in May 2003.
      The Montana turbines represent the next three Co-op projects. Six more
      turbines are slated to go on line throughout the Northwest in 2004.
      "These turbines represent an economic win for rural communities where
      they operate, and an environmental win for everyone because they
      generate power with zero emissions," notes Peter Moulton, who directs
      the Harvesting Clean Energy program for Climate Solutions, another key
      Our Wind Co-op partner.

      Project funding provided by: United States Department of Energy National
      Renewable Energy Lab, United States Department of Agriculture Rural
      Development, the Bonneville Environmental Foundation, National Center
      for Appropriate Technology through the Northwestern Energy USB program
      and Montana State Department of Environmental Quality.

      Northwest Sustainable Energy for Economic Development (NWSEED) works to
      mobilize consumers and maximize the benefits of harvesting "home-grown"
      renewable resources. For more on Our Wind Co-op, visit
      <outbind://26/www.ourwind.org> www.ourwind.org. For more on Northwest
      SEED, visit <outbind://26/www.nwseed.org> www.nwseed.org. For more on
      the Harvesting Clean Energy program, visit
      <http://www.harvestcleanenergy.org> www.harvestcleanenergy.org

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