“Marketing the Wind” a case study

Timlynn Babitsky | Benefits & Support,Case studies | Saturday, March 22nd, 2008

by Timlynn Babitsky
Montana is the fifth windiest state in the country, yet even in 2002 there was state-wide resistance for exploring the economic potential of wind. Developing Cascade County’s nine megawatt wind park was a huge challenge! Through the strategies and tactics of a smart, visionary local leader, and her first-of-its-kind marketing effort, both outside wind developers and local constituents found a Win-Win Sweet Spot. This is an excellent case to see what works and why.

Horseshoe Bend Wind Park was a vision and a challenge. In 2002 there were unlimited supplies of good wind in the US and abroad and a limited number of wind power developers. Cascade County Commissioner Peggy Beltrone had to figure out:

  1. How to differentiate the Cascade County wind resource from a large pool of others.
  2. How to attract the interest and commitment of a wind power developer.
  3. How to convince local landowners that there was money for them in Montana wind.

Peggy is a natural influencer. She has a deep understanding of how to influence others through Win-Win relationships. In short here’s what she did:

  • Researched the issue fully to understand the big picture.
  • Tossed out the typical start points, and did her own homework.
  • Identified and selected the most knowledgeable allies for this agenda.
  • Provided essential and newly gathered wind data as a free service to wind developers.
  • Researched the capacity and location of transmission lines in the region.
  • Researched avian patterns.
  • Investigated and identified landowner supporters and resisters to the project.
  • Provided direct connections to wind savvy allies to help the developer with permits.
  • Introduced updated local Wind Maps to the public “with much fanfare.”
  • Provided detailed strategies for landowners to “get in the game.” 

The Win Win Sweet Spot:  

  • Verified project viability to all potential stakeholders
  • Found important local allies and secured their involvement and support
  • Provided valuable financial “currencies” to potential developers
  • Provided opportunity “currencies” to the local population
  • Shared “what worked” with other wind advocates

To download Marketing the Wind click here.

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