On the 10-year anniversary of Montana's renewable portfolio standard (RPS), Chicago-based developer Invenergy is celebrating the Judith Gap Wind Farm, located in Wheatland County, Mont.
Invenergy says the 135 MW wind farm, which achieved commercial operation in 2006, has brought numerous economic benefits to its host community, including the following:Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
- 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; and
- A current staff of 11 operations and maintenance employees, with a cumulative payroll of nearly $6 million.
In the 10 years since the RPS was signed into law, Montana has become a clean energy success story, notes Invenergy. 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 top five states in wind energy resources, Montana has attracted approximately $1 billion in wind industry investment over the past 10 years and $16 million annually toward the gross state product.
‘We are very pleased that Invenergy chose to build a power generation facility in our county,’ says Tom Bennett, commissioner of Wheatland County. ‘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 facilitie, such as a community center and a fire hall.’