Naturener is now developing more than 1000 MW of wind power in the United States and Canada

California-based NaturEner USA, LLC, a renewable energy company, announced that the company closed on a $117.5 million construction loan and a $120 million tax equity facility arranged by Morgan Stanley for NaturEner’s Glacier 2 wind farm outside Ethridge, Montana. The wind farm is expected to be placed in service in October of this year.

Glacier 2 will supply 103.5 MW of wind energy at full production, employing a total of sixty-nine 1.5 MW wind turbines. Glacier 2 is adjacent to NaturEner’s existing Glacier 1 wind farm, and the combined capacity of the sister facilities is 210 MW of wind energy. New York-based Capstar Partners acted as exclusive financial adviser to NaturEner on the placement of the tax equity. Chadbourne & Parke LLP acted as legal advisor to NaturEner. Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP acted as legal advisor to Morgan Stanley.

"We are extremely proud of this major milestone for our Company. To be able to close a transaction of this size in the current market required the unwavering commitment of all parties, and flexibility to use the funding structures such as the ITC and cash grant now available for wind under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. As a result of building Glacier 2, approximately 150 construction jobs and 10 long-term jobs were directly created,” said Alfredo Cahuas, Chief Financial Officer of Naturener USA.

NaturEner is developing additional wind energy facilities representing approximately 1,800 MW of aggregate nameplate capacity in Montana and the western U.S. as well as in Alberta, Canada via its affiliate NaturEner Energy Canada, Inc. 

Glacier Wind Project Boasts 140 Turbines

Wind energy is on the rise in Montana. Phase II of the Glacier Wind Project is now underway in Toole and Glacier Counties. Located between Shelby and Cut Bank, south of Ethridge, A crew of 125 works to bring clean, green energy to the region, in the form of 140 wind turbines.

"With wind you do not depend on fuel," said NaturEner Project Manager Klaus Obel. "The wind is there anyway. The cons are that we can’t determine when the wind will blow."

According to Obel, the project is going as planned. NaturEner completes about one turbine every two weeks. These 2000-horse power turbines each produce enough energy to power 500 homes per year. Each has a tower standing 262 feet, and weighs nearly half a million pounds.

"When you see it from the road, you know it’s big, but it’s nothing like being next to it," Obel said. "The blades are 118 feet long."

NaturEner says the wind farm’s maximum output will be 210-megawatts, which is enough power for 60,000 homes. This project will boost property tax revenues in Glacier and Toole counties by an estimated $4 million annually.

"It helps in many ways. The tax base will go up and then the employees will be here to maintain them."

This is the 2nd commercial-sized wind project in Montana. Next up, the proposed Rim Rock project, also in Glacier and Toole Counties, which will be the largest wind farm in Montana and all of the Northwest.

The turbines each have a lifespan of up to 30 years. Once the project is completed in the Fall, year-round maintenance will begin by a crew of about 18.

As of 2005, total installed wind power capacity was 59,084 MW according to the Global Wind Energy Council, Europe accounted for over 40,000MW, and the United States over 9,000MW. The United States added an additional 2,500MW in 2004, a grow rate of nearly 30%. The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) estimates that wind installations worldwide will total more than 75,000 megawatts over the next decade, or more than $75 billion worth of business.

Interest in wind energy is growing for several reasons. The Kyoto Protocols mandate that industrialized nations substantially reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Governments have begun to take real action to support sustainable energy. Finally, improvements in wind energy technology have lowered the price of turbines and made the price of the energy produced by wind competitive with that of other utilities. Over the last 20 years, the cost of electricity from utility-scale wind farms has dropped by more than 80 percent.

In the early 1980s, the first utility-scale turbines produced wind-generated electricity at a rate of U.S.$0.30 per kWh. Current estimates now indicate that wind sites now generate electricity for less than U.S.$0.05 per kWh – a price that is competitive with many conventional energy technologies. Wind power has a number of other economic advantages over conventional power. Capital, construction and operating costs for wind projects undercut those of almost every other type of power plant. Modern wind turbine design allows for easy expansion and remote supervision. Wind farms require only small amounts of land and do not interfere with other land uses. Wind projects need no water or fuel.

Naturener foresees an enduring opportunity in Canadian wind power. Canada’s stake in commercial wind capacity has increased by over 29% in the last year. Over the next 15 years, the Government of Canada will invest at least $920 million in the promotion of wind power. The Federal government has committed to purchase 20% of its electricity needs from renewable sources, including wind, by 2006.

Energy Logics is poised to benefit from the renewed development of wind power in the United States. The US wind industry has undergone rapid growth and transformation since 1999. More than 2100MW of wind generated power came online in the US in 2005 alone, nearly 25% of global growth in installed generation capacity last year, according to AWEA.

Benefits of Wind Power

A wind energy system transforms the kinetic energy of wind into electrical energy that can be delivered to consumers. Wind power has a number of economical advantages over other conventional power generation methods, including the following:

Lower Operating Costs – The operating costs of wind energy projects are low in comparison to those of traditional methods of energy production. Operating costs are not materially effected by the price of oil and natural gas.

Reliability – Modern wind turbines are very reliable. Availability, a measure of an electricity generation systems reliability, is calculated as the percentage of time that an energy system is able to operate relative to total time available. The difference between the two is largely attributable to the maintenance scheduled annually. According to AWEA, the availability for modern wind turbines is typically over 95 percent.

Simplicity – The construction of a wind energy facility is relatively simple when compared to that of a traditional electricity production plant. Hydro, gas, nuclear or coal facilities can take several years to complete. A wind farm can be constructed in much less time, which reduces the risks associated with construction delays and cost overruns.

Flexibility – Wind turbines are modular and can be quickly added to existing sites to increase energy supply and overall system reliability and performance. Wind energy facilities can be located in areas where traditional electricity generation facilities might cause substantial harm. The rest of the project’s site remains free for other uses, such as agriculture, pasture, industry and recreation. Wind facilities require no commercial use of water and so do not compete with agriculture or domestic uses.

Environment Friendly – Wind energy generation mitigates thermal, chemical, radioactive, water and air pollution as compared to fossil fuel and nuclear generated power. Wind energy facilities do not emit greenhouse gases or acid rain, both of which have significant negative impacts on the environment.

Minor Impact – Wind turbine projects require only a small percentage of the land they occupy for road access and foundations.

Diversity – Wind Power and other renewable energies add diversity to our energy sources, reducing reliance on a handful of fossil fuels.