Wind farm proposed for Anaconda’s C Hill - Turbine towers would be about as high as the famous stack

2012-11-02T02:00:00Z Wind farm proposed for Anaconda’s C Hill - Turbine towers would be about as high as the famous stackBy George Plaven of The Montana Standard Montana Standard
November 02, 2012 2:00 am  • 

ANACONDA – A wind farm atop Anaconda’s C Hill could inch closer to development if NorthWestern Energy likes what it sees out of the project proposal.

The county, in conjunction with local partners Pintler Power LLC and Exergy Integrated Systems, is exploring the possibility of installing eight wind turbines that would generate 19.2 megawatts of electricity on the hill over the south side of town.

Exergy submitted its proposal to NorthWestern Energy Aug. 28. The utility is seeking up to 45 megawatts of renewable generation, required by statute, to meet growing demand.

NorthWestern Energy is pursuing those resources by attracting cost-effective, community-owned projects across the state. It is expected to compile a short list of eligible projects by the end of the month.

Peggy Beltrone, project manager with Exergy, believes a wind farm in Anaconda would not only fit the bill, but also highlight new development opportunities on remediated Superfund land.

“I think this is exactly the type of project intended,” Beltrone told The Montana Standard. “We believe our proposal fits in nicely with the community renewable requirement.”

The wind farm would consist of turbines more than 400 feet high – by comparison, the nearby smelter stack comes in at 585 feet high. They would power as many as 6,000 homes in the area.

C Hill is situated close to an existing NorthWestern Energy transmission substation, Beltrone added, and an interconnection agreement is already in place for the resource.

“We know power can be put on the system and brought to market,” she said.

In 2009, Anaconda-Deer Lodge County began negotiations for a wind energy development lease with the Philipsburg-based Pintler Power, which began collecting wind data at C Hill.

With help from the Environmental Protection Agency, they set up two anemometer towers to track average wind speeds and measure the potential of a wind farm development.

Jack Standa, owner of Pintler Power, said the wind resource at C Hill was good enough to move forward with the project. That’s when he contacted Exergy to get involved.

“We’ve stuck with it, and we’re at a point now where we have a competitive proposal,” Standa said. “It looks like a nice little project, and it fits with what NorthWestern Energy is looking for.”

The project also fits with the county’s objectives in its growth policy, according to Superfund Coordinator Carl Nyman. He is excited to see a potential wind farm taking shape.

“It’s one of those redevelopment opportunities we have here,” Nyman told the Standard. “Our growth policy identifies this as a favorable development for the county. We’ve been very supportive of it.”

Beltrone points to numerous construction jobs, a handful of permanent jobs and additional tax revenue as benefits for the county.

But not everyone is excited. Linda Behan Brooks, a self-employed resident of 12 years, is concerned a wind farm on C Hill would be a noisy eyesore in the community.

“I can’t imagine what eight 400-foot turbines would do to our skyline,” Brooks said. “That’s a monstrosity. I just feel it would be a really bad thing for Anaconda.”

Beltrone admitted there is plenty of hard work ahead, but said she is optimistic about the project moving forward.

“We are Montanans, and we would like to help a Montana community,” she said.

— Reporter George Plaven may be reached at 496-5597, or via email at george.plaven@lee.net. Follow him at Twitter.com/@George_Plaven.

Copyright 2015 Montana Standard. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(8) Comments

  1. pfurshong
    Report Abuse
    pfurshong - February 13, 2013 11:00 pm
    How are they going to hook them up to the grid?
  2. pfurshong
    Report Abuse
    pfurshong - February 13, 2013 10:59 pm
    Not only are their lights but they hum as well.
  3. pfurshong
    Report Abuse
    pfurshong - February 13, 2013 10:58 pm
    Talk to the folks in Livingston and see why they no longer have their turbines on the edge of town...they thought that was a good idea once as well.
  4. pfurshong
    Report Abuse
    pfurshong - February 13, 2013 10:57 pm
    So - I grew up in Anaconda and now live on Buffalo Ridge in SW MN. There are 100's of turbines in the middle of no where. I would suggest that they put them out on the the land that no one wants to live on or near (the slump ponds on the east end of town near the Warm Springs turnoff) I cannot imagine that anyone would think that it would be a good idea to up these turbines on the C Hill. If the folks from P-burg think they are such a great idea put them up in P-burg. Even then it would be sad. Having left the mountains of MT for a job - and now my life and family, I miss nothing more than the mountains of where I grew up and would be saddened if I came home to see such a thing. Very sad!
  5. oldie
    Report Abuse
    oldie - November 05, 2012 11:53 pm
    One man's trash is another man's treasure. Windmills are not ugly, they are neat. Whoever saw a postcard of a windmill in Holland as a kid and didn't want to go there? So what's the deal? Windmills in Holland are picturesque, but a windmill in Anaconda is ugly? It's got nothing to do with ugly. You're brainwashed if you believe that.

    I'll tell you what's ugly. What's ugly is a McMansion on the skyline in Montana. That's ugly! McMansions, with those "grand entrances". They ought to be outlawed.Revoke the insurance policies on them I say.

    What would you rather see on the skyline, a windmill or a McMansion? How would you like to look up and see some fool's mansion everyday looking down on you? Just rubbing it in? Huh? I'd move. I wouldn't put up with it for a week.
  6. bambi
    Report Abuse
    bambi - November 02, 2012 7:34 pm
    I don't see how Ms. Beltrone can seriously think putting those gross towers up on the C Hill is helping Anaconda. She has obviously not lived in Anaconda. This is just another snow job by a private company trying to make a buck and a name for itself at the same time, and Anaconda's landscape gets the shaft, once again. Kinda pathetic when you realize our county government is part of the scam!!
  7. bambi
    Report Abuse
    bambi - November 02, 2012 2:24 pm
    The towers *themselves* will detract from the open space on the C-Hill !! And of course the towers will have lights, because airplanes might hit them at night if they don't. People in Anaconda will have to look up at all those towers with lights on them every night. It might be a good idea if it wasn't right on top of the C-Hill, overlooking town. Once people realize how big and tall and gross-looking those towers really are, nobody is going to want this project to happen. The county government in Anaconda just flies by the seat of its pants. What a joke!
  8. rscott
    Report Abuse
    rscott - November 02, 2012 11:44 am
    This is a great idea! Just be sure the towers are not lighted, which detract from the MT experience of open space. And we should be sure that the power generated will be used locally, and not shipped to a more profitable location.

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