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New wind farm deal could be model for industry

Wed, 08/04/2010 - 10:13am
The Associated Press

Montana and company officials say a deal to pay for a big, new wind farm with money from a utility could serve as a model to spur growth in the renewable energy industry - as long as Congress keeps incentives in place.

NaturEner USA told Gov. Brian Schweitzer Wednesday about its plans for the $800 million Rim Rock farm north of Great Falls.

Company chief executive Jose M. Sanchez says that San Diego Gas & Electric, a subsidiary of Sempra Energy, will get paid back in renewable energy credits for investing $600 million in the project. The utility may or may not buy the actual electricity generated.

Both Sanchez and Schweitzer say Congress needs to quickly extend tax credits for the industry beyond 2012 because the deadline is too close for completing new projects. Investment will dry up without the credits.

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