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Oregon utility makes big investment in Montana wind farm

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Posted at 8:22 AM, Oct 26, 2022

More energy from what will become Montana’s largest wind farm has now been lined up to sell to power homes in the Pacific Northwest.

Portland General Electric, based in Oregon, announced Tuesday that it has procured 311 megawatts from the new Clearwater wind project—enough to power about 125,00 homes.

The Clearwater Wind Project snakes through parts of Rosebud, Garfield and Custer counties. It will eventually have nearly 300 wind turbines— each about 40 stories tall—when it is all finally up and running.

“PGE’s stake in Clearwater will not only help in our state’s clean energy transition, but also create jobs and tax base in Montana, continuing our commitment to a state we have had an ongoing investment in for over four decades,” said Brett Sims, vice president of strategy, regulation and energy supply for PGE.

PGE’s portion of the wind farm is scheduled to be operational by the end of 2023.

Related: Southeastern Montana wind farm poised to become Montana's largest

Meanwhile, the first phase of the project is expected to be online by the end of this year. The power from the first phase, about 350 megawatts, has been contracted to Seattle-based Puget Sound Energy.

The development of the project has provided about 350 jobs during construction. The power harnessed from the wind farm will be sent via an 85-mile power line to the Colstrip substation and then delivered by an existing transmission line to the Pacific Northwest.

While the power doesn’t stay in Montana, the project is expected to bring in over $200 million in property taxes over the next 30 years as well over $200 million in payments to landowners who have turbines on their property.