- Associated Press - Friday, December 19, 2014

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - Construction has begun in southern Montana on a 120-turbine wind farm that would be one of the biggest wind power projects in the state.

The $550 million Mud Springs Wind Ranch near Bridger in Carbon County is expected to take several years to complete.

Project managing director John Huser tells The Billings Gazette (https://bit.ly/1x4ZLHf ) that the four-phase development will be wired to a 230-kilovolt transmission line in Park County, Wyoming. The line is owned by PacifiCorp and services Yellowtail Dam.

The timing of the Mud Springs groundbreaking was crucial for tax purposes.

Congress this week extended a wind production tax credit through the end of this year.

The tax credit of 2.3 cents for every kilowatt hour of energy produced for 10 years was in doubt most of the year because of congressional delays. And though the credit is retroactive to last January, it’s only officially been on the books since Tuesday and will expire in two weeks at year’s end.

Mud Springs will have to cut 1,500 feet of access road on its 18,000-acre development and dig holes for its turbine pads by year’s end to qualify for the tax credit.

It’s being developed by Mud Springs Wind Project and Pittsburgh-based EverPower Wind Holdings.

Huser said the frost has thawed, and the ground at the site should be workable.

Permitting for the Mud Springs project started a few years ago.

U.S. Sen Jon Tester, D-Mont., said he will begin advocating for a 2015 tax credit for wind in January.

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Information from: The Billings Gazette, https://www.billingsgazette.com


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