According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the net generation in megawatt hours from wind power from July 2012 to July 2013 was 102,640, up by 20.9 percent from the 84,919 hours total of the previous 12-month period. Although the market is somewhat tepid at the moment, wind farms are producing sustainable and clean energy that benefits everyone, and tax incentives from the government will ensure companies continue developing this technology. NaturEner, a company engaged in the ownership, development and operation of renewable generation projects, has delivered on the Rim Rock wind facility in Montana with a 189 MW capacity, along with an industry-leading conservation plan for eagles and other birds.
The Rim Rock project entered commercial operation in January, and the company is in the final phase of delivering energy from the wind farm, which is located in Glacier and Toole counties. Power is going to be delivered using the Montana-Alberta Tie-Line (MATL) transmission line that runs between Great Falls, MT, and Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada.
The company has hired a team of biologists to implement conservation measures that have resulted in zero instances of any eagle being harmed or killed after more than five years of operation.
The protection measure the company has installed includes radar detection systems for eagles along with an avian biologist at different locations to sound the alarm if a bird is in danger. The biologists are able to temporarily stop wind turbine operations by alerting NaturEner’s 24/7 real-time Operations Center if they perceive potential danger to an approaching eagle. The company is also developing a radar detection system that could eventually be operated automatically and remotely. This will ensure the eagles will be protected at all times, even when there is not a biologist present.
"We’re developing information that will improve the scientific community’s understanding of the interaction between eagles and wind farms, and I think that our work at Rim Rock will set a great example for wind power projects across the country," said senior biologist Cheryl Schweizer.
In addition to the Rim Rock facility, NaturEner also operates the Glacier Wind 1 & 2 projects with a total capacity of 210 MW, bringing the total wind power the company delivers to the state of Montana to 399 MW.
"We are proud of our stewardship of the environment,” said Jose M. Sanchez-Seara, President and CEO of NaturEner. “We’ll continue to explore and deploy innovative new technologies that may further reduce the already low possibility that wildlife may be harmed. We’ve also been able to bring jobs and tax revenues to Montana communities, along with supporting the state’s commitment to be a leader in wind power development.”
Edited by Rory J. Thompson