Butte, Mont., December 20, 2010 — NorthWestern Energy has signed a memorandum of understanding to purchase a 25-MW wind project in central Montana to be developed by Compass Wind.
The wind power project, which was submitted to NorthWestern in response to a 2009 community renewable resource solicitation, is consistent with recent Montana legislation that provides for the reintegration of the utility.
The Spion Kop wind project is intended to be placed into the Montana utility's rate base with both the energy and associated renewable energy credits used to meet future renewable portfolio standards obligations.
The development timeline anticipates the execution of a definitive agreement in the first quarter of 2011 followed by the submission of an application for pre-approval by the Montana Public Service Commission with an anticipated decision early in 2012. Construction would commence upon a favorable ruling with commercial operation anticipated by the end of 2012.
NorthWestern Energy provides electricity and natural gas in the Upper Midwest and Northwest, serving about 661,000 customers in Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska.
Compass Wind, a community-based wind project developer in the western US, was formed in 2007 to build smaller utility-scale wind projects. Currently, Compass has a number of active projects in the Mountain States region with an established pipeline of about 800 MW.