Second wind farm blows into Big Timber

Renewable energy developers have heard the wind blows in Sweet Grass County and a wind farm planned near Springdale is currently in the works.

Michael Thompson, lead developer on the Crazy Mountain Wind project from Pattern Development, told Sweet Grass County Commissioners April 5 that the $102 million wind farm is scheduled for construction in March of 2018. The project would go online by the end of that year.

On Feb. 21 project developers submitted an application for new or expanding industry classification, in hopes of submitting a tax abatement application after further paperwork is submitted.

As of April 17, the group had not submitted a tax abatement application, however Thompson indicated during the early April meeting,  that was something they were still planning on pursuing.

“The tax abatement is one of the key components to the economics of the overall project,” Thompson said in an email to the Pioneer.

Montana law states that new or expanding industries in the state, such as wind and solar farms, are eligible for a reduced taxable value.

The Springdale project isn’t the only wind farm to ask the county for a tax break: in early March, county commissioners granted a wind farm in Greycliff, Big Timber Wind LLC, a $1.2 million abatement over ten years, causing a stir in the community.

Crazy Mountain Wind will span over both Park and Sweet Grass County land, with roughly 75 percent of the turbines in Sweet Grass County.

The number of wind turbines has yet to be set in stone, but Thompson said the team is looking at 15 to 20 turbines in Sweet Grass County and five to seven in Park County. Each turbine will generate between two and three megawatts and the target max amount of energy generated will be 80 megawatts. 

The size of the turbines haven’t been decided either, but Thompson said developers are leaning toward fewer, larger turbines around 370 feet tall, as those have a lower overall impact compared to more, smaller turbines.

The project will be located one mile northeast of Springdale.

To read the full story, pick up the April 20 edition of the Pioneer or subscribe to our e-edition. Current subscribers are provided complimentary access to the e-edition with registration.
 

By Olivia Keith / Pioneer Staff Writer

 

 

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