NorthWestern Energy Signs MoU With Invenergy Wind

NorthWestern Energy (NYSE: NWE) has signed a memorandum of understanding to purchase a 24-megawatt wind farm project in north central Montana to be developed and constructed by Invenergy Wind Development Montana, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Invenergy Wind LLC ("Invenergy").

The wind power project, which was submitted to NorthWestern in response to a 2009 community renewable resource solicitation, is consistent with recent Montana legislation that provides for the reintegration of the utility. The wind farm is to be built on a portion of Invenergy’s proposed 200 megawatt Big Otter Wind Energy Project site near Belt, Montana. It is intended to be placed into the Montana utility’s rate base, with both the energy and associated renewable energy credits used to meet future renewable portfolio standard obligations.

Execution of a definitive agreement is expected in the first quarter of 2011. Submission of an application for pre-approval by the Montana Public Service Commission would follow, with an anticipated decision in early 2012. Construction would commence upon a favorable ruling, with commercial operation projected to begin by the end of 2012.

Invenergy also is the owner and operator of the Judith Gap Wind Energy Center in Harlowton, Montana. NorthWestern Energy provides electricity and natural gas in the Upper Midwest and Northwest, serving approximately 661,000 customers in Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska.

Invenergy and its affiliated companies develop, own and operate large-scale renewable and other clean energy generation facilities in North America and Europe. Invenergy is committed to clean power alternatives and continued innovation in electricity generation. Invenergy’s home office is located in Chicago and it has regional development offices throughout the United States and in Canada and Europe.

Invenergy and its affiliated companies have developed and placed in service twenty wind farms and five natural gas-fueled generating facilities. The aggregate capacity of these facilities is approximately five thousand megawatts, which can provide enough power for approximately two million homes. Invenergy is one of the top six largest owners of wind generating facilities in the United States, according to the American Wind Energy Association.