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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: CONTACT: Jim Barngrover
September 23, 2005 406-443-7272

AERO AND NORTHWESTERN ENERGY COMBINE TO SPONSOR
FOUR CONSERVATION AND RENEWABLE ENERGY TOURS
IN OCTOBER-NOVEMBER

On a Gallatin Valley farm, pumps vary their speed to match demand and save tens of thousands of gallons of water, along with thousands of dollars in electricity and labor costs. In a Missoula neighborhood, solar heated buildings are so energy efficient that they produce most of the energy they consume. In the upper Musselshell River Valley, wind generators spin off clean electricity and provide another crop for farmers and ranchers. And in Billings, solar homes in west side subdivisions, some of them 20 years old, continue to save energy and dollars.

All these are sights you can see firsthand this fall on a series of four conservation and renewable energy tours, sponsored by NorthWestern Energy (NWE) and organized by AERO, Montana¹s Alternative Energy Resources Organization. The tours are free to the public and will feature experts knowledgeable about the energy systems highlighted in the tours. Save these dates and times on your calendar and mark these places on your map:

Thursday October 13, 2:00 to 4:00 PM, a tour at the Droge Farm near Manhattan. The Droge
family has been saving water, electricity and money for the last three years, thanks to a technological refinement to their pumping system. Variable speed drives have been used on pumps in commercial and industrial applications for decades, but irrigation is a relatively new application for this technology. The Droge¹s irrigate seed potatoes, small grains, and alfalfa hay crops using three center pivots and ten wheel lines, drawing water from two wells.

Friday October 28, 10 AM to 3 PM, in Missoula, participants will tour two sites; the Gold Dust Apartments vast array of solar and energy-saving technologies, such as Energy Star (high efficiency) appliances; MUD (Missoula Urban Demonstration Program) solar greenhouse; and presentations by staff of the U of M College of Technology on green building design and renewable energy. If you are interested in ³green² and energy efficient building, saving money and conserving energy you will want to attend these tours.

Friday November 11, a series of windpower workshops from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM at the Hutterite Colony near Martinsdale. Community Wind Workshop at the Martinsdale Hutterite Colony on the upper Musselshell. Currently they have the largest operating array of wind machines (12 sixty five KW machines) in the state. This windpower tour will include measuring windspeed and siting wind generators, through contracting and financing, to maintenance and repair.

November 14, taking off at 9:30 AM from Rocky Mountain College on a tour of west side solar homes in Billings, ending around noon. Tour participants will be viewing several solar homes and touring one solar home whose systems have been in operation for two decades. These homes all feature different designs using solar energy and conservation principles effectively.

NorthWestern Energy is sponsoring these tours to publicize the many ways that Montanans can work with their electric utility to save energy and money and tune into our state¹s abundant clean renewable resources. These tours are free except for the cost of catered lunches to be served in Missoula and at the Martinsdale Colony. For more information -- exact times, directions to the sites, details on the programs -- contact AERO in Helena. Phone 406-443-7272; or e-mail [email protected]

More Detail on Droge October 13 in Manhattan Tour

OSMART PUMPS¹ SAVE ENERGY, WATER, MONEY ON GALLATIN VALLEY FARM -- FIRST OF FOUR RENEWABLE ENERGY TOURS IN OCTOBER AND NOVEMBER

The first in a series of four renewable energy tours sponsored by NorthWestern Energy and coordinated by AERO, Montana¹s Alternative Energy Resources Organization, will introduce people to a couple of very smart irrigation pumps.

Thursday October 13 is the day and 2:00 P.M. is the time to show up at Droge Farms, Inc., in the Gallatin Valley outside Manhattan, where the Droge family has been saving water, electricity and money for the last three years, thanks to a technological refinement to their pumping system.

Variable speed drives have been used on pumps in commercial and industrial applications for decades, but irrigation is a relatively new application for this technology. The Droge¹s irrigate seed potatoes, small grains, and alfalfa hay crops using three center pivots and ten wheel lines,
drawing water from two wells. One is 300 feet deep, is powered by a 200 hp electric motor, and pumps approximately 1000 gallons per minute (gpm).The other is 450 feet deep, is powered by a 250 hp electric motor, and pumps approximately 1600 gpm.

Installed in 2002, with incentive funding from NorthWestern Energy, the variable speed drives (VSDs) allow the Droges to use either well with any of their center pivot or wheel-line systems, and to vary the amount of water pumped to closely match the requirements of each of the systems. Often the full amount of horsepower is not needed. The VSDs have solved problems with
uneven pressure created by the corner arm pivots. The farm has two swing-arm pivots: when the ends of the swing arm pivots move in, the speed of the motors is slowed, and the volume of water is reduced. No longer is there excess water to be discarded. No longer are the Droges paying more to pump that excess water.

Estimated annual savings in Droge Farm electric bills, nearly $5,000. Estimated annual savings in labor costs, $2000. And crop yields have actually increased.

Directions: Droge Farms, Inc,. is located south of Manhattan at
7525 Stagecoach Trail Road. From I-90, take the exit at Manhattan and
follow Churchill Road south for six miles. Turn right on Stagecoach Trail
Road and proceed west approximately two miles to the farm.

NorthWestern Energy is sponsoring all four of these tours to publicize the many ways that Montanans can work with their electric utility to save energy and money while tuning into our state¹s abundant clean renewable resources.

These tours are free except for the cost of catered lunches to be served in Missoula and at the Martinsdale Colony. For more information -- exact times, directions to the sites, details on
the programs -- contact AERO in Helena. Phone 406-443-7272; or e-mail [email protected] For more information about any of the fall 2005 energy tours, contact AERO in Helena at 406-443-7272, or by e-mail at [email protected]

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