Judith Gap expansion in the wind

Montana State Roundup

Published January 1, 2007  | January 2007 issue

The turbines have been spinning so smoothly at the Judith Gap Energy Center that the wind farm's owner is considering expanding the facility.

A year after its construction, the state's first big commercial wind farm has met or exceeded expectations for electricity output, according to its owner, Invenergy of Chicago. Powered by strong, steady winds in central Montana, the 135-megawatt facility is on track to produce 450,000 megawatt hours annually, enough to supply 7-8 percent of the electricity needs of NorthWestern Energy, which has a 20-year power purchase contract with Invenergy.

Invenergy said it will add another 35 turbines to the 90 already operating at Judith Gap, possibly this year, if an unnamed utility accepts its power-purchase bid. The company is also considering developing another farm even larger than Judith Gap north of Great Falls.

Phil Davies