At its regularly scheduled business meeting today, the Montana Public Service Commission voted to certify NorthWestern Energy’s Two Dot Wind Farm as a project compliant with Montana’s Community Renewable Energy Project (CREP) law.
“I’m glad they were able to certify this project,” said Commissioner Bob Lake (R-Hamilton). “Two Dot meets the requirements of the law, it works economically for the utility and the investors, and the consumer is held harmless. That’s what we need to see more of.”
The CREP law requires Northwestern to buy 65 megawatts (MW) of power from alternative projects which meet the law’s standards. Those standards include being under 25 MW and either having 50% or more local ownership, or being owned by the utility. The CREP law went into effect in 2012, and NorthWestern has never met its full requirement. The Commission granted waivers for each compliance year because a majority of the Commissioners found that NorthWestern had taken all reasonable steps to acquire the required amount of CREP power. The Commission’s most recent decision to again grant waivers for noncompliance was a hotly-contested 3-2 decision. Two Commissioners authored dissenting opinions.
The Two Dot Wind Farm adds 11 MW to NorthWestern’s existing 25 MW of CREP power. Achieving full compliance will require an additional 30 MW.