Department of Environmental Quality Issues Permit for Montana Alberta Tie Transmission Line
Governor Brian Schweitzer and the Department of Environmental Quality Director Richard Opper announced today that the Montana Alberta Tie transmission line has completed the permitting process at the state level. The 230 kV, 214 mile-line will connect Montana energy to markets in Alberta, Canada.
"This is a great day for Montana. We are going to add more clean and green energy to the 271 mega watts of wind energy we already produce," said Governor Schweitzer. "With the completion of this project, we will see 600 more mega watts of Montana wind fill these lines creating hundreds of jobs for Montanans and triggering a billion dollars worth of wind development in North Central Montana."
Over the last three years Montana's wind energy production has increased 27,000% from 1 MW produced in 2005 to 271 MW today. No other state has seen wind energy production increase close to Montana's rate. By comparison the next closest state is North Dakota at 252%.
Planned development of the MATL line has brought several interested wind developers to the area. Montana is among the top in the nation for wind energy potential. Lack of transmission has often been cited as a hindrance to development of renewable energy resources.
"The MATL line is an important first step in clearing the way of any obstacles that would hinder our ability to make clean, Montana energy," said the Governor. "I am encouraged by the hard work of DEQ and DOE to make sure that this project was given the careful consideration it deserves."
Earlier this month, the Montana DEQ and U.S. Department of Energy released their final Environmental Impact Statements. After reviewing comments submitted by the public, DEQ has offered its Record of Decision that MATL is ready to move forward.
"Our staff worked very hard to balance the legitimate concerns of local land owners with our need for the transmission of this vast source of renewable energy." said Richard Opper, "Montanans for generations to come will benefit from this farsighted investment in infrastructure."
Tonbridge Power Company, the owner of the MATL line, was on hand today as the announcement was made.
"The MATL line has been an important project of Tonbridge Power Company for some time now. Because of Governor Schweitzer's leadership, along with the state's Clean and Green tax incentives, this project is finally becoming a reality," said Johan van't Hof, Tonbridge Chief Executive Officer.
The Governor today also announced the creation of a Landowner Liaison Team to directly address landowner comments and concerns. The group will be made up of Tonbridge executives and state and local officials including state Representative Llew Jones and Cascade County Commissioner Peggy Beltrone.