Commissioners Finalize Wind Farm Impact Fee

April 5, 2017 - The Big Timber Pioneer

Sweet Grass County Commissioners signed a nonrefundable impact fee agreement with Big Timber Wind, LLC Wednesday, March 30.

The 25 megawatt wind farm, located 12 miles east of Big Timber, will pay the county a one-time fee of $465,000 five days prior to the start of construction.

The impact fee is 1.5 percent of the estimated total project cost, $31 million. At the end of the construction phase, the wind farm will be required to “true up” their final costs via sworn affidavit, which will be subject to verification, the agreement states. (Read more)



Sweet Grass County Commissioners, the City-County Planning board and local school administrators met March 2 and drafted an agreement describing how the allocation of the Big Timber Wind LLC impact fee would transpire.

Commissioners and administrators agreed that Big Timber Grade School and Sweet Grass County High School would each receive 5 percent of the impact fee for Big Timber Wind to be distributed in $7,750 annual payments for three years. (Read more)

County oks big timber wind tax abatement

March 16, 2017 - the big timber pioneer

Sweet Grass County Commissioners approved a request by Big Timber Wind for a $1.2 million tax abatement the morning of March 15.

The motion passed 2-to-1 with Commissioners Susie Mosness and Bill Wallace in favor of the abatement and Commissioner Bob Faw against the request.

On Feb. 1, Big Timber Wind’s parent company, BayWa r.e. submitted an application for tax benefits for new and expanding industry. A public hearing was held Tuesday, March 7 at the Sweet Grass County Annex, which drew roughly 30 people, along with two representatives from BayWa r.e., which is German-owned, but has offices in California. (Read more)

Press release

Title:  BayWa r.e Wind, LLC Acquires Greycliff Project in Montana

San Diego, December 22, 2016: BayWa r.e. Wind, LLC announced today that it has completed its third project acquisition of the year after it purchased the late stage Greycliff project from its original owners, which includes National Renewable Solutions, LLC (NRS) of Minneapolis. BayWa will immediately begin with the construction of the project which is slated to be placed in service in 2017. With a capacity of 25 MW, the project will deploy GE turbines and sell the energy under a long term power purchase agreement to NorthWestern Energy.  

“With this third acquisition added to our pipeline, construction completion of our Chopin project and safe harboring of turbines, we are wrapping up quite an eventful year 2016 and see ourselves well positioned for future growth,” stated Florian Zerhusen, CEO of BayWa r.e. Wind, LLC. “This is the second project we acquired from NRS and are looking forward to a successful completion next year.”

“After several years in the making, NRS alongside our partners in the project, Montana Wind Resources and the Hobble Diamond Ranch, are pleased to see the Greycliff project move to construction with BayWa, which when operating, will generate substantial benefits to Sweet Grass County,” said Patrick Pelstring, CEO of National Renewable Solutions, Greycliff’s former developer. “This project brings our development portfolio to over 540 MW of completed or “construction-ready” sales, and is an important milestone for our company.”

Staying true to its naming convention, subsequent to the acquisition of 100% of the membership interest in Big Timber Wind, LLC, which owns the assets of the Greycliff project, BayWa will rename the project to Vivaldi Wind, LLC. Once operational, the project will generate enough energy to reach approximately [20,000] homes and businesses in the surrounding areas annually. This will also offset approximately [40,000] tons of CO2.

BayWa r.e. renewable energy GmbH (BayWa r.e.): 

BayWa r.e. renewable energy GmbH is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BayWa AG and combines the activities of the solar, wind, bio- and geothermal energy business sectors. BayWa r.e.’s core markets are Europe and the USA. The German based company is a "full-service-partner", employing around 950 and drawing on more than 25 years of experience in the market. Today, BayWa r.e. develops, realizes, consults on and supports renewable energy projects. In addition, the company operates and maintains renewable energy plants. Further business activities include wholesaling PV components, as well as purchasing and trading in green energy.

BayWa r.e.’s US subsidiaries are active in the solar and wind markets of the Americas. They focus on projects and O&M business and the distribution of PV components. 

BayWa r.e.’s parent company, BayWa AG, is an international trading and service enterprise with core areas of business in the agriculture, energy and construction sectors.

National Renewable Solutions LLC (NRS):
NRS is a utility scale community wind and solar project developer with a unique development model under which individual community landowners are equity investors in the project companies. Since formation, NRS have successfully developed, contracted and sold projects representing over 540 MW, of which 342 MW will be operational by the end 2017.  Additionally, NRS has 8 project holdings under development – cumulatively over 1,920 MW of wind assets and over 265 MW of solar opportunities. 

Contact information:

BayWa r.e. Wind, LLC
Suzanne Munson
Tel.: 858.450.6800

Developers more confident they can build Greycliff wind farm

October 25, 2016 - Bozeman daily chronicle

It looked bleak earlier this year, but developers are now more confident they’ll be able to build a wind farm near Greycliff.

Patrick Pelstring, a partner in the Greycliff wind project, said Greycliff Wind Prime has found new investors and that they are beginning to talk with NorthWestern Energy about a purchase agreement for the wind farm they hope to build on a ranch near the community east of Big Timber.

“We could get started on construction late this fall,” Pelstring said, adding that they need to finalize agreements with NorthWestern first. (Read more)


May 23, 2016

Contact:          Rhyno Stinchfield     

                        Montana Wind Resources, LLC: (406) 651-8898



The Montana Public Service Commission (“PSC”) has scheduled a hearing to determine the unresolved contract terms between NorthWestern Energy (“NorthWestern”) and Greycliff Wind Prime, LLC (“Greycliff”) (, a wind energy generation project and wholly-owned subsidiary of Greycliff Wind, LLC.  The public hearing is scheduled in the Bollinger Ballroom at the PSC offices in Helena on May 31, 2016 at 10:00 AM.  

Greycliff is a 25 megawatt (“MW”) Qualifying Facility (“QF”) wind energy project located twelve miles east of Big Timber in Sweet Grass County, MT.  Greycliff has been in development for six years and the owners have invested in excess of $750,000 to develop the project.  Greycliff is planned for construction in 2017, subject to a satisfactory determination by the PSC of the remaining, unresolved contract issues between NorthWestern and Greycliff.  The PSC is also expected to determine the energy pricing at which Greycliff will sell its energy and renewable energy credits (“REC”) to NorthWestern under a 25-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).  This contract represents Greycliff’s third attempt at finalizing a PPA with NorthWestern.  Greycliff came to agreement and executed PPAs with NorthWestern twice, in 2014 and 2015, as a community renewable energy project (CREP).  However, Greycliff’s ownership structure was twice rejected by the PSC based on unclear regulation related to the Community Renewable Energy Project (CREP) provision of Montana’s Renewable Portfolio Standard.

Steve Story, a local resident and former manager of Hobble Diamond Ranch, successfully gathered signatures from local residents and businesses in support of the project.  “The Greycliff project has local resident and business support.  The wind farm is uniquely situated on the Hobble Diamond Ranch and in an area with very limited view-shed issues of the site lines of turbines from local neighbors and I-90,” Story said.

Once in operation, the project is anticipated to generate over $8 million in property taxes and local impact fees over the 25-year term of the PPA and will create roughly 44 full-time jobs during construction.  The project will also support the permanent jobs of wind farm maintenance workers in Montana, and at least one permanent operations manager.  Greycliff’s owners include Montana Wind Resources, LLC (, National Renewable Solutions, LLC (, and the owners of the Hobble Diamond Ranch.  “$8 million in property taxes and local impact fees can go a long way in bolstering local school budgets and county services,” said Steve Tyrrel, President of Montana Wind Resources.

Rhyno Stinchfield, CEO of Montana Wind Resources and an owner of Greycliff, believes it is a good market to build renewable projects in Montana.  “Our team has been working for over five years to build this renewable project in Montana, for in-state energy needs.  With the Production Tax Credit extension, now is the best time to move forward with the Greycliff Wind Project.  This is a great time for renewable energy in our state, and this project will provide long-term, low-cost energy for many years."

*   *   *   *   *   *   *

About Greycliff Wind, LLC:  Greycliff Wind, LLC develops community-owned wind energy projects and seeks to build up to 80 MW of renewable energy capacity in Sweet Grass County, MT.  In the first phase of the overall project – Greycliff Wind Prime – Greycliff Wind plans a facility capable of generating up to 25 MW of wind-generated renewable energy, which is enough clean energy to power about 8,000 homes.

More information on Greycliff Wind, LLC and the project can be found at

About Montana Wind Resources, LLC:  Montana Wind Resources, LLC (“MWR”) is a wind and solar development company based in Billings, Montana.  MWR works with ranchers, farmers, businesses and institutions throughout the West to facilitate the use of wind and solar as renewable energy resources.


Rhyno Stinchfield, Montana Wind Resources, LLC: (406) 651-8898





Montanans have a fundamental choice right now that will dictate how competitive our energy economy will be for decades to come. Do we take charge of our energy future, or do we bury our heads in the sand and wait to see what happens?

The thing is, our energy economy is in crisis. More than half of all electricity generated in Montana is exported to buyers in Oregon, Washington and California. The majority of that is coal-powered electricity. But demand for coal-powered electricity is drying up as West Coast states gradually phase more renewable energy into their portfolios.

Our first instinct might be to dig in and protect the status quo. But if we sit around complaining and resisting for too long, the market for our electricity is going to dry up before our eyes. Then we’ll have to figure out what Montana looks like without all that energy revenue and those energy jobs. (Read more)


MARCH 1, 2016 - Billings gazette

Southeast Montana Republican Public Service Commissioner Kirk Bushman will has a primary challenger who is accusing him of poor attendance and not cooperating with the commission’s other GOP members.

Bushman, who told The Gazette he will file for re-election Wednesday, said his challenger, Republican Tony O’Donnell of Billings, is misinformed.

“I feel that Tony is being naive and gullible,” Bushman said. “I don’t know where he’s getting his information.”

The challenge marks only the second time in 24 years that a Republican incumbent has faced a primary opponent in southeast Montana.

O’Donnell told The Gazette recently that Bushman was physically absent 40 percent of the time on Public Service Commission voting days. (Read more)

renewables can diversify montana's economy

march 5, 2016 - bozeman daily chronicle

The Bozeman Daily Chronicle recently editorialized that it’s “Time Montana realized coal’s limitations.” Similarly, the Billings Gazette recently ran two editorials claiming that “Montana can’t stake its future on coal,” and Montana’s economy and energy sector must “Diversify or die, it’s our choice.”

The editorials ran in response to the state’s grappling with the reality of a shrinking coal sector. Both editorial boards correctly identified that the challenges facing Montana’s coal sector extend far beyond the EPA’s “Clean Power Plan” carbon regulations. Both also correctly identified that Montana’s economy is diverse, and that further diversification will help us shrug off any coming coal losses. However, neither fully captured the opportunity that renewable energy development can play in building a brighter future for Montana.

Montana is blessed with one of the best wind resources in the United States, which can help power our state and large portions of the economies of Washington, Oregon and California, just like Montana’s coal currently does. Additionally, our solar energy resource is more than adequate to meet a sizable portion of our own in-state demand, if we get serious about utilizing it. (Read more)

state rule hinders wind power projects, greycliff wind energy tells psc

November 3, 2015 - montana public radio

A startup that wants to build a 25 megawatt wind farm near Greycliff in Sweet Grass County claims it’s been frustrated at every turn by resistance from NorthWestern Energy and the state’s all-Republican Public Service Commission.

Tuesday morning Greycliff Wind Energy appealed to the PSC to throw out an existing state rule that it says the electric utility has used to stymie the efforts of wind power developers.

“The competitive solicitation requirement, as Northwestern would like to maintain it, at least seemingly from their comments, is a path to nowhere. It doesn't exist." (Read more)


September 20, 2015 - bozeman daily chronicle

Between Livingston and Billings the freeway passes through little towns easily forgotten, like Greycliff, a small community 10 miles east of Big Timber. The wind whips through there, which excites Rhyno Stinchfield. What’s an annoyance for some is opportunity to him.

“No wind farm yet has been built to take advantage of that Livingston-Big Timber wind tunnel,” Stinchfield said.

For the last half-decade, he’s been trying to change that with Greycliff Wind Prime LLC. With a business partner and the blessing of a local landowner he thinks he’s found the perfect spot. The turbines would be off the freeway, invisible to the passerby and near a transmission line that can take the power elsewhere. (Read more)

Montana PSC may change rule to benefit small wind-power projects


HELENA - State utility regulators have voted to review and possibly change a rule that small Montana wind-power projects say has hampered their development.

A rule change could make it easier for these small projects to get contracts to supply NorthWestern Energy, the state’s major electric utility, and thus build their project.

Greycliff Wind Prime, which wants to build a 25-megawatt wind project near Big Timber, asked for the rule change, saying NorthWestern has used to rule to “obstruct and interfere” with the project’s right to arrange a contract under state and federal law.  (Read more)


may 14, 2015 - bozeman daily chronicle

Wind energy contributed significantly more new electricity to power the nation than any other resource last year, according to recently released data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). The EIA predicts the trend will continue in 2015, expecting 9.8 gigawatts of wind energy to be developed nationwide or about half of the generating capacity to come online this year.

The data and projections confirm what’s happening in Montana, where wind has been leading new electric energy development for the past 10 years. (Read more)