Developers seek Montana approvals for two wind projects

The developers of a couple of small wind energy projects in Montana, armed with new power sales agreements with NorthWestern Energy, filed recent applications with the Montana Public Service Commission for related approvals.

Crazy Mountain Wind LLC, under the provisions of the Montana Renewable Power Production and Rural Economic Development Act (the “Renewable Power Act”), on Jan. 15 petitioned the PSC for certification of the 25-MW Crazy Mountain Wind Project as an Eligible Renewable Resource and a Community Renewable Energy Project (CREP). Crazy Mountain is required by its Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with NorthWestern Energy (NWE), which covers all of the energy production from the project, to file for certification within 30 days of the effective date of the agreement, which was Dec. 18, 2013.

Crazy Mountain is wholly owned by WINData LLC and Montana Marginal Energy LLC. Both WINData and Montana Marginal are Montana corporations and wholly owned in turned by Montana residents. “The Project will be a 25 Megawatt (‘MW’) wind project located near Springdale in Sweetgrass County, Montana,” the application noted. The project should be able to deliver energy by the end of 2014.

“Under the PPA, Crazy Mountain will deliver electric energy and renewable energy credits to NWE at what is, presently, below NWE’s current posted long-term avoided cost,” said the application. “As a result, NWE’s ratepayers will benefit long-term from the sale of electric energy from Crazy Mountain to NWE. Crazy Mountain will also promote long-term rural economic development in Montana by generating investment, jobs and corollary economic activity in Sweetgrass County. Perhaps most importantly, the Project will enable NWE and the Commission to meet their respective obligations under Montana’s Renewable Power Act including helping NWE to satisfy its obligation to acquire energy from CREPs.”

The company address is: Crazy Mountain Wind LLC c/o WINData LLC, 1943 Highway 408, Fairfield, MT 59436.

There was a similar, Jan. 21 application from Greycliff Wind Prime LLC for a CREP project. Greycliff is planning construction of a 20.4-MW (exact size dependent on final turbine selection) wind project in Sweet Grass County, Montana.

Greycliff executed a PPA dated Dec. 20, 2013, to sell the energy from the project to NorthWestern Energy. Greycliff said it anticipates that the project will begin construction around October 2014 and will be completed around August 2015.

“Upon completion, the Project will provide competitively priced renewable electric energy to NWE for the benefit of its customers in Montana,” the company noted. “The Project will also promote sustainable rural economic development by creating new jobs and stimulating business and economic activity in Sweet Grass County. Finally, the Project will assist NWE in its efforts to meet its obligations under Montana’s Renewable Act, specifically with regard to acquiring energy from CREPs.”

Greycliff is currently 100% owned and controlled by Greycliff Wind LLC, which is owned 52% by Montana Wind Resources LLC (controlled by two Montana residents). The remaining 48% is owned by companies which do not contain Montana residents. The application said the company meets the legal criteria of Montana residents having a “controlling interest.”

The company address is: Greycliff Wind Prime LLC c/o Montana Wind Resources, 3128 Farnum Street, Billings, MT 59102.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.