The Montfort Wind Energy Center, a popular attraction in western Iowa County along U.S. Highway 18, turned 10 years old this summer. The 30-megawatt (MW) project, which for many years was Wisconsin’s largest commercial wind energy installation, began generating electricity in 2001, and thus far has produced over 500,000 megawatt-hours of electricity. In a typical year, Montfort’s output serves more than 5,000 households.
The project’s 20 turbines are divided into two arrays. The main array, consisting of 17 turbines, runs along the southern side of U.S. 18 between Cobb and Montfort. The output from those 17 turbines is sold to Milwaukee-based We Energies. The other three turbines, located to the south of the main array, produce electricity under contract to Alliant Energy’s Wisconsin Power & Light subsidiary, whose service territory covers Iowa County.
Originally developed by Enron Wind, the Montfort project was purchased in 2001 by NextEra Energy Resources, a Juno Beach, Florida-based company. Residents of Cobb and Montfort have been strongly supportive of this project. “Montfort has a gas station called Windmill Mobil,” said Carol Anderson, a project landowner. “Most commonly, I hear people ask ‘When we’re going to get more’?” Just east of the Windmill Mobil, an informational kiosk on the project stands prominently in front of the Tower Junction restaurant, located directly across the highway from Montfort’s westernmost turbines.