Wind Power Projects

Cascade County: Horseshoe Bend Wind Park

Cascade County, Montana, Commissioner Peggy Beltrone, initiated an aggressive, first-of-its-kind wind power marketing program in 2002 to attract wind power development. It was part of a plan to reverse a declining tax base and expand economic opportunities.

The first step in the marketing program began by using the federal wind map data that exists in a standard format for all wind rich counties and adding themes of land ownership, roads, transmission lines, elevation, and other features. A team then assessed the maps further by working with the most wind-knowledgeable county employees, interestingly, the Weed and Mosquito Abatement department, and recalibrated the maps with new data from anemometer assessments. These new maps are the centerpiece to the wind marketing program and are a free service to wind developers.

Four years of intense wind energy marketing to developers in eight states paid off when Cascade County won national praise for becoming home to one of the state's first utility grade wind farms, Horseshoe Bend Wind Park. This wind farm was installed for United Materials of Great Falls, Inc., which is the County's 24th largest taxpayer employing over 125 people. United Materials is the first major industrial customer in the state, if not the nation, who will be able to displace its entire electrical power (diesel) load because of wind-based energy generation.

Wind Powering America recognizes the critical facilitator role that county commissioners can play in getting wind projects properly sited and deployed and has initiated a partnership with the National Association of Counties (NACo) to develop a Wind Energy Guidebook for County Commissioners (PDF 1.1 MB) Download Adobe Reader.

Cascade County welcomes developers with rich resources to easily prospect ideal locations for wind development. Digital wind maps bring together into one package all the essential wind data as a free service to wind developers. It is the centerpiece of the wind marketing program. The county also connects developers to business relationships, by introducing them to landowners, contractors, land agents and permitting officials.

(source: Wind Powering America)


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