The nation’s credit crunch could slow the planning of brand new wind farms in Montana this year.
But developers and state regulators say it shouldn’t stop facilities that are further along in the planning process.
Enough wind energy to power up 37,800 homes hit the electrical grid in Montana in 2008. Planned expansions and new projects that are already underway could double that over the next year.
There are several wind projects in the state planning to start production in 2009, according to Chantel McCormick of the state Department of Commerce’s Energy Promotion and Development Division.
One of those projects includes the construction of a multi-million dollar wind turbine manufacturing facility in Butte.
Due to a sluggish world economy, the groundbreaking, which was slated for spring, has been pushed
back, a local economic official said.
“By no means have they cancelled or postponed the project. The schedule they had originally laid out in 2009 will be pushed back somewhat. They haven’t indicated a new time frame for the project, but they’re still hoping for some action in 2009, start of construction,” said Jim Smitham, Butte’s local development corporation director.
Despite the high demand for wind turbines, production at the plant in Germany has slowed down, Smitham said.
It’s estimated the $25 million wind turbine production plant in Butte would employ around 200 workers to make the 2.5 megawatt turbines during the first phase of the project.
A conference call meeting will take place this week with officials from Furhlander to discuss the project and the results of a feasibility study.