May 8 (Renewables Now) - US utility NorthWestern Energy (NYSE:NWE) has agreed to buy the output of a 20-MW solar park to be built near Billings in Montana.
The power purchase agreement (PPA) for the Meadowlark Solar project comes as a result of a request for proposals (RfP) for Community Renewable Energy Projects issued by NorthWestern in early 2018.
Getting a certain percentage of power from community renewable energy parks is a requirement under the Renewable Power Production and Rural Economic Development Act in Montana. NorthWestern, more specifically, has to procure power from certified Community Renewable Energy Projects (CREPs) with a combined capacity of at least 67 MW.
The Meadowlark Solar photovoltaic (PV) project is planned to be completed by 2021. It is the sixth CREP resource secured by NorthWestern Energy, which estimates that it would be needing roughly 10 MW of additional CREP capacity to meet its obligations.
A new RfP for renewable power generation from community-owned projects has already been launched with a deadline for proposals of June 13, 2019.
In 2018, renewables accounted for 15.5% of NorthWestern’s retail sales, surpassing the minimum level of 15% in Montana.