A small power plant proposed for Gibson Reservoir 70 miles west of Great Falls is getting attention from Montana’s congressional delegation.
Sens. Steve Daines and Jon Tester, along with Rep. Matt Rosendale, introduced a bill Monday to authorize The Department of Interior to build a power plant at the mountain reservoir. Gibson Dam was plumbed for generation at the recommendation of the now defunct Montana Power Co. when the dam built in 1926, but a generator was never added.
The reservoir is part Sun River Project, which provides irrigation water to Cascade, Lewis and Clark and Teton counties and is in need of repair, according to a report by the dam’s main stakeholder, Greenfields Irrigation District.
Greenfields has worked for years to get the generation approved and built. The district would liked to sell the power to NorthWestern Energy and use the profits for maintenance and repairs on Sun River Project. Greenfields estimates it could gross more than $2 million a year selling Gibson Dam electricity.
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The next 50 years of maintenance on the Sun River System is expected to cost $75 million.
The planned generation capacity is a modest 3