PSC limits long-term fixed rates to wind projects
The Montana Public Service Commission approved a request Tuedsay, to limit the availability of long-term fixed rates to qualifying wind projects during a pending court appeal.
District 5 Commissioner Bill Gallagher says, in December, a previous commission removed the 50-megawatt energy cap on new wind projects eligible for long-term fixed-rate contracts. Northwestern Energy then sued the commission and claimed it had not followed procedure correctly. Northwestern Energy officials say without the cap, wind producers have sent the company an overwhelming number of requests for long-term agreements to purchase power at fixed rates, requests which they would have to agree with under the previous commission's decision. Gallagher says the 50-megawatt cap will stay in place for now, to avoid additional energy cost to Northwestern Energy.
"NorthWestern Energy can buy electricity, energy, on the open market for $25-$35 per megawatt. These wind producers, their current offer contract price right now would be $49.50."
The commission is also keeping the cap in place to prevent more obligatory contracts while Northwestern Energy makes its appeal.
Story by Charlie Misra
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