FAIRVIEW I SOLAR PROJECT (DOE/EA-2261) 

Project Description: Located in Richland County, Montana, west of the Town of Fairview, Stellar Renewable Power (Stellar) is advancing a 74.5-MW solar project, complemented by a 25-MW, 4-hour battery storage initiative. Noteworthy for being among the few solar projects in Montana, this endeavor is strategically situated for interconnection at the MDU/WAPA’s Fairview West 115 kV substation, offering the flexibility for Regional Transmission Organization (RTO) interconnections. The point of interconnection is just across MT Highway 201 from the site and will constitute the entirety of the generation tie line right of way or crossing agreement. The project will repurpose around 700 acres of grazing land within a total area of 1,100 acres, demonstrating Stellar’s commitment to sustainable development. Stellar is dedicated to not only constructing but also owning and operating this asset, seeking a partnership with an off taker to supply clean energy to the local area and region. Fairview I is anticipated to generate approximately 350,000 MWh annually over its estimated 35-year lifespan and will be a vital source of clean energy, powering numerous homes and businesses in the region. 

Fairview I is under full site control by Stellar as an option to lease agreement with one landowner in Richland County. Stellar will exercise the option agreement ahead of construction and final notice to proceed.  

WAPA’s Involvement: If there is available transmission capacity on the federal transmission system, WAPA provides open access to transmission services so that energy producers can transmit power to their customers. Any entity requesting transmission services must submit an application for interconnection. For more information about the interconnection process, visit WAPA’s website here. The federal interconnection process is separate from any state, county, or local permitting and approvals that may be required.  

The proposed interconnection of the Project to WAPA’s transmission system is a federal action under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). As a result, an environmental assessment (EA) will be prepared to evaluate the environmental effects of the Project. If WAPA finds there are no significant environmental impacts, WAPA will prepare a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) and issue a decision. If significant impacts are identified, the environmental impact statement (EIS) process would be initiated. An EIS provides a more thorough evaluation of impacts and alternatives, as well as a more formal public involvement process.  

Public Involvement: One of the first steps in the NEPA process is public scoping. During the scoping process, input is requested from the public, government agencies, Tribal governments, and others to identify issues and alternatives that will help WAPA define the scope of the EA.  

WAPA is announcing the public scoping period for the Project. A public scoping meeting will be held in-person on July 11, 2024, from 5pm to 7pm Mountain Daylight Time (MDT), at the Fairview Senior Center in the Town of Fairview, Richland County. This meeting will be held to provide an opportunity for interested parties to learn about the Project from resource specialists and to submit written comments. During the meeting, WAPA will give a short presentation about the Project and NEPA scoping process and provide an opportunity to ask questions.  

To learn more about this Project and to share your ideas, join us in-person at:  

Fairview Senior Center
217 West 5th Street
Fairview, MT 59221
July 11, 2024, from 5pm to 7pm MDT 

Comments may also be submitted by: 

Mail to: 

Western Area Power Administration
UGP NEPA Coordinator
2900 4th Avenue North
PO Box 35800
Billings, Montana 59101-1266 

Email to: NEPA@wapa.gov with “Fairview I Solar Comment” in the subject line 

Comments should be provided or postmarked no later than August 10, 2024. 

The next step in the NEPA process will be to prepare a draft EA to analyze environmental impacts of the proposal. Once prepared, a draft of the EA will be available for public review and comment. If you wish to be notified when the draft EA is available, please contact WAPA using one of the methods listed. 

PROJECT LINKS  

CONTACT INFORMATION 

Western Area Power Administration
UGP NEPA Coordinator
2900 4th Avenue North
Billings, Montana 59101-1266
(406)255-2810
nepa@wapa.gov