In the ten years since its Renewable Portfolio Standard (“RPS”) was signed into law, Montana has become a clean energy success story. As wind projects such as Invenergy‘s Judith Gap Wind Farm in Wheatland County generate low-cost, homegrown renewable power, they’re also producing significant local tax revenue and spurring job creation in the state.
One of the nation’s top five states in wind energy resource, Montana has attracted approximately $1 billion in wind industry investment over the past ten years and $16 million annually toward the gross state product.
Located near the towns of Judith Gap and Harlowton, approximately 100 miles northwest of the city of Billings, the Judith Gap Wind Farm is a 135 MW power generation facility that commenced operation in 2006. The project has brought numerous economic benefits to its host community ever since, including:
- Nearly $15 million in property tax payments to Wheatland County
- Approximately $4 million in landowner payments
- A community fund that has contributed to key local civic organizations
- 200 jobs during construction
- A current staff of 11 operations and maintenance (O&M) employees, with a cumulative payroll of nearly $6 million
“We are very pleased that Invenergy chose to build a power generation facility in our county,” said Tom Bennett, Wheatland County Commissioner. “The project is a large investment in our area’s economic future, and its tax payments have been of great benefit to our schools, and toward property tax stabilization. The wind farm’s community fund has helped tremendously as well, enabling improvements to critical local facilities such as a community center and a fire hall. Invenergy is an excellent community partner and we’re happy to have them as our neighbor.”
“Wind power is a win-win for Montana, and we salute the state’s forward-thinking in attracting more than 600 MW of installed capacity,” said Mick Baird, Vice President of Development at Invenergy. “We’re proud to be the owner and operator of one of the state’s largest wind power generation facilities, and we truly appreciate the tremendous support we’ve received over the years for the Judith Gap Wind Farm. Invenergy takes seriously our commitment to our host community in Wheatland County, and we look forward to continuing our strong partnership for many more years to come.”