A decade ago wind energy proposals in Montana were working to attract investors.
Today commercial wind parks have the capacity for 397.9 megawatts of electricity generation and two parks, Rim Rock in Toole and Glacier counties, and Spion Kop, between Geyser and Raynesford, with combined capacity to generate another 229 megawatts of electricity, are under construction now.
Wind parks in the state paid $3.97 million in property taxes alone in Montana in 2011, according to the Department of Revenue. Impact fees paid during construction to counties and other entities provide additional revenue to local governments.
Conservative estimates are that every 10 megawatts of generation in a commercial wind park equals one permanent job, although the state’s largest wind park, NaturEner’s Glacier in Glacier and Toole counties, has 40 employees.