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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" energy.

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 the utility.

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. customers.

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.



2001 Wind Demonstration 
Montana Wind Resources
Montana Wind Energy Atlas
Native American Wind Links
U.S. Wind Speeds

U.S. Wind Resources
Wind Power Books
Wind and Weather
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Montana Wind Resources
Wind resources can be used with both large wind turbines for utility applications and with small wind turbines for on-site generation. As a renewable resource, wind is classified according to power classes, which are based on typical wind speeds. These classes range from class 1 (the lowest) to class 7 (the highest). In general, wind power class 3 or higher can be useful for generating wind power with large (utility-scale) turbines, and small turbines can be used at any wind speed. Class 4 and above are considered good resources. Parts of Montana have excellent wind resources.


Montana Green Power

National Center for Appropriate Technology
(406) 494-4572
Toll free 1-800-275-6228 (ASK-NCAT)
Fax (406) 494-2905

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