Buttercreek Power, LLC

Echo, Oregon

Small-Scale Wind

$500,000 Grant


Buttercreek Power - small-scale windKent Madison has always tried to stay on the cutting-edge of farm technology.

His third-generation family farm in the foothills of the Blue Mountains in eastern Oregon grows wheat, corn, alfalfa, potatoes, and canola, and he makes biodiesel fuel from canola.

Given his previous success with innovative projects, Madison recently decided to add wind power to its harvest with the help of a REAP grant.

He joined forces with a wind developer and one of his neighbors to build the project more efficiently. They shared the costs of construction equipment, negotiated a better contract with John Deere Renewable Energy, and in the end expanded their installed capacity to 64 MW of clean wind power.

Madison’s portion of the project eventually included three Vestas V82 1.65 MW turbines. The project was organized with a “flip” financing structure, where Madison started with a 1% of ownership and 51% of operational control. After their corporate partner realizes a return on investment, in 10-12 years, local ownership and revenues flip to 95% for the remainder of the project life.

Madison points out that REAP “allows us to own a bigger share of the turbines more quickly.” The project also demonstrates the close connection between locally owned farm energy and rural economic development.