Senator Jon Tester today congratulated the Cascade Conservation District for receiving a $1 million award to build a full-scale wind turbine using an innovative new design. The goal of the project is to demonstrate the viability of a cost-effective turbine that is easy to maintain and acceptable to the local community:
"Investing in the next generation of wind energy is a responsible investment in our energy future. We need an all-of-the-above energy strategy to increase our energy independence and wind will play a major role in that effort. I'll continue to support smart and cost-effective energy initiatives that responsibly tap into our natural resources."
Montana's wind power capacity was only a single megawatt in 2004, but now Montana wind energy companies generate nearly 500 megawatts of power. The wind industry's recent growth, fueled in part by the tax credit that Tester supports, lowered the cost of wind power more than 90 percent. Conservation District officials say this project could cut local energy costs by up to 50 percent.