Pryor Mountain Wind Project
Last fall Carbon County commissioners approved the Pryor Mountain Wind Project near Bridger, Montana, a 114-turbine farm estimated to produce enough energy to power more than 76,000 homes annually. It is the biggest economic development project ever in Carbon County.
Wind energy in Montana is a growing industry and renewable energy sources across the nation are on track to surpass coal-fired energy production before 2040. Some 7.5% of the energy produced in Montana comes from wind energy currently, but wind power has been used since early recorded history dating back to as early as 5000 B.C.
Starting work in March 2020, Mortenson, which is contracted through West Coast utility PacifiCorp, employs 40 Northwest Carpenters Union millwrights and apprentices. At the peak of construction, Mortenson employed approximately 300 people on-site at Pryor Mountain, with a scope of work that included public road improvements, creation of access roads to turbines, foundations, underground collection, substation, operations and maintenance building, and towers. Upon completion of the project, Mortenson will have constructed 76% of all wind energy in Montana, growing the state’s wind energy portfolio by 30%.
Finishing the Pryor Mountain Wind Project by the end of 2020 is critical if PacifiCorp wants to qualify for a federal tax break that will provide 2.4 cents for every kilowatt-hour of energy produced for 10 years. Ultimately, this could allow for the company to decrease rates for customers. The plant is set to begin operation December 15, 2020, and employ 12 full-time jobs in the Bridger area.