Senators push funding for energy transmission line
Baucus, Tester Say Project Will Create Jobs, Clean Energy
(Washington D.C.) – Montana Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester today asked the Administrator of the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) to help finance the Montana-Alberta Transmission Line (MATL).
In a letter to WAPA Administrator Tim Meeks, Baucus and Tester said the agency should use funds made available from the recently passed Jobs Bill, formally known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, to fund the MATL project. MATL is a power transmission line that will connect the Northwestern Energy substation in Great Falls with the Albert Integrated Electrical system substation northeast of Lethbridge, Canada.
“The Montana Alberta Transmission Line is a fully permitted ‘shovel ready’ project that will provide integration of renewable generation and create jobs. It would be a worthy recipient of funding made available in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act,” the Senators wrote.
The MATL will also allow access for three new wind energy projects located near Cut Bank to transmit power to new markets.
Baucus and Tester said that with the current economic credit crunch funding from sources like the WAPA loan program are vital for projects like MATL.
“Now more than ever, the WAPA loan program is vital to getting clean energy projects, like MATL, up and running for our communities. As you address the need for economic recovery, we hope that you will give timely consideration to the MATL project and their request for funding. MATL can hit the ground running—providing jobs and advancing the use of renewable energy,” wrote the Senators.
Baucus’ and Tester’s letter appears below.
Tim Meeks, Administrator
Western Area Power Administration
P.O. Box 281213
Lakewood, CO 80228-8213
Dear Administrator Meeks:
In Montana, we have an opportunity to harness our abundant wind energy, moving one more step toward breaking our foreign oil habit and increasing our use of sustainable resources. The Montana Alberta Tie Line (MATL) is a fully permitted, “shovel ready” project that will provide integration of wind energy and create jobs. It would be a worthy recipient of funding made available in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. In the current economic climate, this project will not only advance our nation’s energy independence but create long-lasting, good-paying jobs. We fully support this project and urge you to give it prompt consideration.
The MATL project will interconnect with Northwestern Energy at the Great Falls, Montana substation and with the Alberta Integrated Electrical system at a new substation northeast of Lethbridge. While the project spans the US-Canada border the majority of labor, supplies, and future spending will come from and benefit the US. MATL will quickly create much needed American jobs in construction, maintenance and operation of the line and the related wind projects.
Diversifying our generation fuel sources is essential to advancing our energy independence, and it cannot be done without assistance from programs like the newly created WAPA loan program. MATL will serve several new wind energy projects in Montana, totaling approximately 600 MW capacity. Without the MATL these projects would have no practical access to a transmission service. MATL will also provide increased renewable energy sources in the regional power markets. Now more than ever, the WAPA loan program is vital to getting clean energy projects, like MATL, up and running for our communities.
As you address the need for economic recovery, we hope that you will give timely consideration to the MATL project and their request for funding. MATL can hit the ground running—providing jobs and advancing the use of renewable energy.
U.S. Senator Max Baucus
U.S. Senator Jon Tester