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Montana News

Lack Of Transmission Facilities Hampers Montana Wind Generation

Power line.
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Montana is rich in wind resources, but the demand currently doesn’t support the high cost, according to wind and utility expert.

Rob Gramlich of the American Wind Energy Association says Texas, Iowa, and California are the top states taking advantage of wind power.

He says even though Montana isn’t in the top five, there are opportunities.

Gramlich says Montana is “the biggest expected source of wind power across the west.”

He says the problem is getting that wind generated electricity to markets on the west coast because of the lack of transmission facilities.

Two Washington utility executive says there’s also the lack of a market for that wind generation.

“For us it’s really economics,” says Dennis Vermillion, a senior vice president of Avista Corporation and President of Avista Utilities. He says the utility first looks to what’s closest to its service area because of the costs of transmission.

“When you add in the cost to get it to our load center compared to the alternative we might have in our backyard it hasn’t penciled out for us yet,” says Vermillion.

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