Power project collaborators pick Montana

SATURDAY, NOV. 7, 2009

Canadian-Irish bid links wind, transmission

BILLINGS – A Canadian transmission company and an Irish wind developer said Friday they are teaming up to pursue a central Montana power project that could result in at least $1 billion worth of new wind energy in the Great Falls area.

If the project succeeds, it would give Montana’s burgeoning wind energy industry room to grow – an expansion that to date has been limited by a lack of lines to move power out of the state.

Toronto-based Tonbridge Power Inc. already is building a $215 million transmission line that will carry wind power along a 200-mile route between Lethbridge, Alberta, and Great Falls. The company now is considering a 100-mile link between that line and another in southern Montana that connects to electricity markets in the Pacific Northwest.

The new project would be known as the Green Line. Tonbridge CEO Johan van’t Hof said Friday it would likely carry only wind power.

Tonbridge would allocate at least 500 megawatts of capacity to the North American subsidiary of Dublin wind developer Gaelectric.

Gaelectric Vice President Van Jamison said that equates to about $1 billion worth of wind energy projects. The company has about 100,000 to 150,000 acres under long-term lease in the Great Falls area for future wind farms, he said.


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