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NorthWestern buys wind project in Montana to save customers money

Staff Writer | March 21, 2018
NorthWestern Energy has reached an agreement to acquire Two Dot Wind Farm, a 9.7-megawatt wind project near the central Montana community of Two Dot for a purchase price of $18.5 million.
NorthWestern Energy
Acquisition   Two Dot Wind Farm
Pending approval by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the transaction is anticipated to close sometime in late April and is expected to be nominally accretive to net income but neutral to earnings per share in 2018.

The purchase agreement is with NJR Clean Energy Ventures. While the remaining terms of the agreement were not immediately disclosed, NorthWestern's Montana customers will enjoy lower energy costs from the project as a result of the purchase.

In addition to lowering customers' costs, NorthWestern also anticipates that the purchase of Two Dot Wind will help it comply with the Community Renewable Energy Project component of Montana's Renewable Portfolio Standard.

NorthWestern currently buys the energy produced by the wind project under a Qualifying Facilities agreement. With this purchase agreement, NorthWestern anticipates continuing to include the electricity produced at this project in its regulated portfolio that serves Montana customers.

The Two Dot project, operating since June 2014, will be the second wind project owned by NorthWestern Energy in Montana. It also owns the 40-megawatt Spion Kop wind project east of Great Falls, near the community of Geyser.

NorthWestern also has contracts with nearly a dozen other large and small wind energy producers in Montana. The nameplate capacity of those wind project totals nearly 450 megawatts.

More than 60 percent of the energy NorthWestern Energy provides to its Montana customers comes from renewable and carbon-free water, wind and solar generation.

The energy company also relies on thermal generation from Colstrip Unit 4 and several natural gas-fired plants to meet customer needs reliably and affordably.