2001 Wind Demonstration
Wind Program Encourages
Small-Scale Power Generation
Montana Power Company electric
customers may be eligible to participate in a wind energy demonstration project
that will save money and protect the environment by generating "clean"
The National Center for Appropriate
Technology, headquartered in Butte, will administer the program funded by the
Montana Power Company universal systems benefits charge. The systems must be installed
in the Montana Power Company electric service area. Only wind machines 10 kilowatts
and smaller will be eligible. The goal of the project is to install 80 kilowatts
of wind electrical generation.
An incentive of $1.25 per watt
of the manufacturer’s capacity rating will be paid to the owner. If an owner installs
a 10-kilowatt system, for example, the incentive will be $12,500, which will cover
about a third of the total installed cost of the system.
All of the wind systems must be
utility-intertied, which means the electricity they produce can be fed into the
utility grid – in effect running the meter backward. The owner may also choose
to install batteries and controllers to provide an uninterrupted power supply.
Wind generating systems are easy
on the environment. They help reduce the use of fossil
fuels and resulting greenhouse gas emissions. And wind systems save money by generating
their own "clean" electricity from a renewable energy resource.
A wind electric system produces
direct current electricity, which is converted by an inverter into alternating
current (AC) electricity at the utility's voltage and frequency. The AC electricity
is fed into a main electric breaker panel.
AC electricity produced by the
system is consumed by a building or other electrical load, and any excess electricity
generated by the system flows back into the utility grid. MPC will install electric
meters that turn backward whenever excess power generated by the wind system is
fed into the utility grid. The homeowner must sign a net metering agreement with
Additionally, the program will
monitor wind energy potential at a potential site to qualify a particular project.
To be eligible, a homeowner must
install a system that meets NCAT’s minimum specifications, allow NCAT to inspect
the installed system, and sign a net meter agreement with MPC.
Funds for the project come from
the Universal System Benefits Charge, or USBC – paid by all Montana Power Co.
For information, contact John
Walden at (406) 494-8641.
NCAT, a national non-profit organization
headquartered in Butte, promotes sustainable technologies and community-based
approaches that protect natural resources and assist people in becoming more self-reliant.