With the goal of bringing new jobs and green power to the West, Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced last week a large-scale transmission project to be financed using funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The Western Area Power Administration will use borrowing authority under the Recovery Act to help build the $213 million Montana-Alberta Tie Limited (MATL) transmission project between Great Falls, Montana, and Lethbridge, Alberta. Almost two-thirds of the 214-mile transmission line will be located on U.S. soil, creating American jobs and allowing for the continued expansion of renewable energy production.
“By integrating renewable energy sources onto the electrical grid now, we are helping to shape America’s future economy, powered by clean, secure and affordable energy,” said Secretary Chu. “This project will help put Americans to work and build the transmission networks needed to bring renewable energy to consumers across the West.”
Project construction will be completed by a Montana contractor and is expected to create dozens of jobs. Hundreds of additional jobs are expected for workers to build wind farms near Cut Bank, Montana, and across the region. Once energized, as early as 2010, the 230-kilovolt transmission project will be capable of delivering 300-600 megawatts of clean, renewable wind energy - enough to power 150,000 to 300,000 homes.
The MATL project will be funded through a public-private partnership between the Western Area Power Administration and Tonbridge Power Inc. with up to $161 million of the total project costs funded through Western’s Recovery Act borrowing authority.
Construction is anticipated to begin by fall 2009 following the signing of agreements between Western and Tonbridge Power.