Montana households and business owners will increasingly be able to keep more money in their pockets from the state's continued expansion of wind energy resources, according to new data released by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) and the Wind Energy Foundation (WEF).
The new data comes from calculations made using the U.S. Department of Energy's new 2015 report "Wind Vision: A new era for wind power in the United States."
According to the report, low-cost wind that is not subject to fuel price risk can save Montana consumers over $650 million on electricity bills through 2050. Other added economic benefits for the state would include $126.13 million in annual property tax revenue.
Additionally, wind farm owners would pay Montana landowners $51.14 million in lease payments per year by 2030. Wind energy has already attracted $1.2 billion in capital investment to Montana, and rural landowners currently receive $2 million per year in land lease payments, according to AWEA and WEF.
"With stable policy, we can grow wind energy, and we can save Montana homeowners and businesses money," says Tom Kiernan, CEO of AWEA. "Because of American ingenuity, wind energy's costs have dropped by 66 percent in just the last six years, and by continuing to invest in wind, over $650 million dollars in savings can be passed on to Montana consumers."
The new data shows Montana can obtain over 400% of its electricity from wind power by 2030 – enough energy to power 6.4 million American homes every year.
The report also says wind energy can help the state avoid over 11.7 million metric tons in carbon pollution per year by 2030 – more than 2.46 million cars' worth of carbon emissions.
"The study clearly shows the benefits of wind that Montana citizens are already enjoying. It also shows that wind energy can provide an even bigger economic boost in the coming decades," notes John Kostyack, executive director of WEF. "With the Clean Power Plan coming online, Montana residents will now have an opportunity to bring in more jobs and investment from wind energy while cleaning up their environment."
More on the Wind Vision report can be found here.