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Energy

NorthWestern To Increase Contracted Solar Energy

A sign reading "NorthWestern Energy" in silver type against a tan woodgrain background.
Nora Saks
/
Montana Public Radio

Montana’s largest electric utility reached an agreement to buy power from a proposed solar facility in southwest Montana’s Beaverhead County.

NorthWestern Energy on Tuesday announced a power purchase agreement with developer Clenera for one of two proposed solar facilities, each of which is slated to generate 80 megawatts of electricity. 80 MW is about 10 percent of NorthWestern’s generating capacity.

NorthWestern currently serves Montana customers with fewer than 20 megawatts of solar power, according to spokesperson Jo Dee Black.

Black says NorthWestern also contracted with developer MTSun in 2020 to buy 80 megawatts from its proposed Yellowstone County facility. She says NorthWestern’s contracted solar power will increase to nearly 180 megawatts when the two solar contracts become active - tentatively in 2022.

NorthWestern and both solar developers had turned to state regulators and courts of law after failing to come to an agreement on contract terms.