Northwestern Energy looks at options

 Northwestern Energy is considering building a natural gas fired electrical generating plant adjacent to the Mill Creek substation near Anaconda. They are considering a plant in the 120 to 220 MW range, which would help stabilize their existing power lines and firm up the power produced by wind generation. If the plant is built, construction will probably begin in 2009, with a completion date of 2010. It is expected to cost more than $100 million, and employ 10 full-time workers after construction is complete.Northwestern has also retained the service of Credit Suisse to evaluate their “strategic options” with regard to their stake in the Colstrip 4 plant. Northwestern leased this power until 2007, when they purchased 222 MW outright. Approximately 40% of this power is used in Montana, with another 40% shipped to the Seattle area. The Montana Consumer Council believes that Northwestern violated the terms of the 2004 agreement that brought the company out of bankruptcy when they purchased this power without first receiving permission from the Montana Public Service Commission.


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