PSC Passes Rule on Renewable Energy Contracts

By Beacon Staff

HELENA — More renewable-energy projects will have to compete for contracts with NorthWestern Energy after the Public Service Commission passed a new rule.

The PSC voted Tuesday to reduce the maximum size of a project that can contract to sell power to NorthWestern without having to compete against other, larger projects.

Lee Newspapers of Montana reports the maximum project size for such “standard” contracts was reduced from 10 megawatts to 3 megawatts.

An attorney representing wind-power producers says the limit makes it unlikely a small wind project will win a contract. Mike Uda says project less than 3 megawatts aren’t financially feasible, and projects larger than 3 megawatts have not won any competitive bids.

NorthWestern supports the change, saying it will allow the company to buy the lowest-cost power.

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