Thursday, the city of Sheridan organized a ribbon cutting ceremony for its first hydro turbine, which will reduce the water pressure at the Beckton Hall station.

In a state often focused on the extraction industry, the efforts by city staff to develop this alternative energy project deserve commendation. 

The turbine will reduce the water pressure as it heads toward the city, turning the pressure into electricity that can be used on site or sold back to Montana-Dakota Utilities. Gravity, it turns out, creates opportunities for cost savings and, potentially, income. The Beckton Hall project has been in the works for several years, and Thursday’s ribbon cutting marked the culmination of work on that project. The city of Sheridan has the state’s Department of Environmental Quality to thank, too, for helping the project pencil out in the end by awarding the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund loan with no interest and 50 percent principal forgiveness. 

Other opportunities likely exist for additional “green” projects. While coal and other extraction-based industries likely aren’t going anywhere, it remains important for the city to continue pursuing “green” projects, adding to the area’s reputation as innovative and modern while staying close to its roots.

Kudos to the city for its forward thinking on the Beckton Hall project.