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Officials approve $50 million wind farm near Belt

GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) -- The Cascade County Zoning Board of Adjustment has approved a special-use permit to Invenergy to build a 16-turbine wind farm about 20 miles southeast of Great Falls.

The Great Falls Tribune reports that board members unanimously approved the Big Otter Wind Energy Project on Friday.

The special-use permit gives the Chicago-based company 18 months to begin construction on the 24-megawatt, $50 million project just south of Belt.

Invenergy says the project will bring an $18 million economic benefit to the area over 20 years in the form of property taxes, construction contracts and landowner royalties.