Ranchers Declare Energy Independence in Montana
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MONTANA'S FIRST COOPERATIVE WIND TURBINES TO BE DEDICATED
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
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