The state has approved the construction of up to 15 wind turbines on about 3,000 acres of school-trust land as part of a proposed 300-megawatt wind farm northeast of Martinsdale.
The 58-megawatt first phase is expected to cost about $200 million and include the seven to 15 turbines on state land, plus additional turbines on adjacent private land.
“We’re anxious to get it built and up and running,” said Joy Potter, who is managing the project for Houston-based Horizon Wind Energy. About 15,558 acres of private land owned by the Martinsdale Hutterite Colony make up the bulk of the wind farm, which developers hope to start building in 2010.
Depending on how many of the 15 turbines are installed, the state could receive between $36,750 and $78,750 in annual payments – 3 percent of the estimated gross revenue, said Clive Rooney, an area manager for the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation.
Revenue generated from school-trust land is set aside for public schools. The farm also would increase the property tax base for Wheatland and Meagher counties, Rooney said.
The Martinsdale wind farm is the state’s second involving school-trust land. Fifteen of the 90 turbines at the Judith Gap wind farm in Wheatland County are on state land. The 210-megawatt Glacier Wind Farm north of Great Falls is being built entirely on private land.