Wind Farm Developers Eye School Trust Land

By Beacon Staff

GREAT FALLS – The state Department of Natural Resources and Conservation said Wednesday it would consider leasing almost 27,000 acres of school trust land in northcentral Montana to private developers interested in using the property as part of larger commercial wind farms.

Michael Sullivan with the DNRC said developers often use state land as part of wind farms that involve adjacent private land. The state charges a one-time installation fee of $2,500 a megawatt on state land, as well as 3 percent of gross annual revenues, or $3,000 for each megawatt, whichever is greater.

The latest leases would include land near Cut Bank, Ethridge and Martinsdale.

The largest project involves 19,462 acres of state land near Martinsdale. It is proposed as the second phase of a wind farm in the works by Texas-based Horizon Wind Energy.