BPA and NWE Agree on Project to Bring Mid-State Renewable Energy West

This week, NorthWestern and BPA signed a Memorandum of Understanding agreeing to explore the potential of a MSTI Project that would accommodate both parties’ needs. The MOU stipulates that by July 31, 2012, the parties seek to complete economic and engineering viability studies and a capacity and cost allocation methodology that considers other partners in the line and treatment for unsubscribed capacity and cost. The outcome of these studies will provide information necessary for BPA to determine whether or not to consider future agreements for participation in the MSTI project.

NorthWestern started environmental review of the 500-kilovolt project in summer 2008. The proposed line would extend from a new proposed substation five miles south of Townsend, Mont., to Idaho Power Company’s existing Midpoint Substation near Jerome, Idaho. NorthWestern Energy anticipates the draft Environmental Impact Statement will be issued in mid-2012. NorthWestern also is planning to conduct an Open Season that will provide utilities, independent power producers and other interested parties an opportunity to subscribe capacity on the MSTI line. Northwestern anticipates energizing the line in 2016. Additional information about the MSTI project is available at http://www.msti500kv.com

BPA is a non profit federal agency that markets renewable hydropower from federal Columbia River dams, operates three-quarters of high-voltage transmission lines in the Northwest and funds one of the largest wildlife protection and restoration programs in the world. BPA and its partners have also saved enough electricity through energy efficiency projects to power four large American cities. For more information, contact us at 503-230-5131 or visit our website at www.bpa.gov.

NorthWestern Energy provides electricity and natural gas in the Upper Midwest and Northwest, serving approximately 665,000 customers in Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska. More information on NorthWestern Energy is available on the Company’s website at www.northwesternenergy.com.