Over $650 Million in savings possible on Montana electric bills by growing wind energy

Press Release

Oct 6 2015

Helena, MT, Oct. 6, 2015 — Montana households and business owners will be able to keep more money in their pockets by the state continuing to grow its wind energy resources according to new data released(Opens in a new window) today by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) and the Wind Energy Foundation (WEF).



Helena, MT, Oct. 6, 2015 — Montana households and business owners will be able to keep more money in their pockets by the state continuing to grow its wind energy resources according to new data released(Opens in a new window) today by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) and the Wind Energy Foundation (WEF).

The new data comes from calculations made using the U.S. Department of Energy’s new 2015 report Wind Vision: A new era for wind power in the United States(Opens in a new window). According to the newly released data, low-cost wind that is not subject to fuel price risk can save Montana consumers over $650 million on electricity bills through 2050 by achieving the Wind Vision scenario. Other added economic benefits for the Treasure State would include $126.13 million dollars in annual property tax revenue and Montana landowners would be paid by wind farm owners $51.14 million in lease payments a year by 2030.

According to Wind Vision wind energy can more than double from supplying the U.S. with over four percent of the country’s electricity today to 10 percent by 2020, 20 percent by 2030 and become a leading source of electricity in the U.S. by 2050 at 35 percent.

“With stable policy we can grow wind energy and we can save Montana homeowners and businesses money,” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of AWEA. “Because of American ingenuity, wind energy’s costs have dropped by 66 percent in just the last six years and by continuing to invest in wind over $650 million dollars in savings can be passed onto Montana consumers.”

The new data shows Montana can obtain over 400 percent of its electricity from wind power by 2030 – enough energy to power 6.4 million American homes every year – protecting consumers against fossil fuel price spikes through stably priced wind energy. Growing wind will not only lower consumer electricity bills, it will also become an energy export for the state.

“The study clearly shows the benefits of wind that Montana citizens are already enjoying. It also shows that wind energy can provide an even bigger economic boost in the coming decades,” said John Kostyack, Executive Director of WEF. “With the Clean Power Plan coming on line, Montana residents will now have an opportunity to bring in more jobs and investment from wind energy while cleaning up their environment.”

Over 380,000 well-paying jobs across the country can be created by wind meeting the 2030 scenario, up from 73,000 full-time jobs today. That includes supporting 142,000 manufacturing jobs by 2030, up from around the nearly 20,000 wind manufacturing jobs today.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued its final ruling of the Clean Power Plan earlier this summer, it is the nation’s first ever rule to limit carbon pollution from existing power plants. Wind energy can help the state avoid over 11.7 million metric tons in carbon pollution a year by 2030 according to the new data, equaling more than 2.46 million cars’ worth of carbon emissions.

“Growing wind energy in Montana is a smart move for families, business owners and state economy,” said Jim Spencer, CEO of EverPower. “When EverPower’s Mud Springs wind farm comes online, we’ll be one big part of the wind power success story here in Montana because investing in wind energy means more money in the pockets of Montanans, less volatile energy costs in the region and a more healthy environment.” 

Studies consistently show(Opens in a new window) wind energy as having the largest role in cost-effectively(Opens in a new window) meeting the Clean Power Plan.

Wind energy already supplies Iowa, South Dakota, and Kansas with more than 20 percent of(Opens in a new window) their electricity. Wind supplies more than 12 percent for nine states(Opens in a new window).

Wind can reliably supply much higher amounts of electricity according to a report by the utility consultant The Brattle Group which found wind supplied at times as much as 40 percent on the main Texas grid earlier this year and 60 percent on the main utility system in Colorado.

Nearly 600 jobs are supported by wind power today in Montana, including well-paying manufacturing jobs at factories producing wind power parts and supplies around the state. Wind energy has already attracted $1.2 billion in capital investment to Montana and rural landowners currently receive $2 million a year in land lease payments.

For a library of up-to-date library images of wind energy use this link http://www.awea.org/MediaCenter/content.aspx?ItemNumber=7244(Opens in a new window)


AWEA is the national trade association of the U.S. wind energy industry, with 1,000 member companies, including global leaders in wind power and energy development, wind turbine manufacturing, component and service suppliers, and the Western Hemisphere’s largest wind power trade show, the AWEA WINDPOWER Conference & Exhibition, which takes place next in New Orleans, LA, May 23-26, 2016. AWEA is the voice of wind energy in the U.S., promoting renewable energy to power a cleaner, stronger America. Look up information on wind energy at the AWEA website. Find insight on industry issues at AWEA’s blog Into the Wind.(Opens in a new window) Join AWEA on Facebook(Opens in a new window). Follow AWEA on Twitter(Opens in a new window).

The Wind Energy Foundation is a non-profit organization that recruits, trains and mobilizes business voices to education the American public and decision makers about the benefits of wind energy and other renewable energy. This work helps secure the policies needed to accelerate the nation’s transition to clean, domestic and affordable renewable energy.

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