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NorthWestern Energy Announces Agreement to Purchase Wind Project from BayWa r.e. Wind LLC in South Dakota

Jul 22, 2015

Sioux Falls, S.D.  – July 23, 2015 – NorthWestern Corporation d/b/a NorthWestern Energy (NYSE: NWE) has entered into an agreement to purchase the recently constructed 80-megawatt Beethoven wind qualifying facility (QF) project located near Tripp, South Dakota.

The $143 million purchase of the facility from BayWa r.e. Wind LLC includes 43 turbines and the rights to a 50MW expansion site adjacent to the existing facility.  The project was completed in May 2015.

“We’re very excited to be investing in generation that will replace existing higher cost supply contracts for our South Dakota customers,” said Bob Rowe, NorthWestern’s CEO. “Our investment in reliable, long-term environmentally responsible energy supply based on the cost of production will benefit our customers for years to come.”

Florian Zerhusen, President and CEO of BayWa r.e. Wind, LLC. added, “Beethoven is a natural fit for NorthWestern to serve its customers with green energy and for our business plan which is to develop, build and sell turnkey projects for our customers. We are proud to have completed the construction of our fifth project in only three years and are seeking to do the same for utilities around the country.”

The energy and renewable energy credits associated with this project are currently included in NorthWestern’s electricity supply portfolio under two QF power purchase agreements (PPA). The existing QF PPAs will terminate upon closing and NorthWestern will request the wind project be placed into rate base as part of its pending electric general rate filing as a known and measurable adjustment. The rate-based cost is expected to be significantly lower than the existing PPAs benefiting NorthWestern’s customers’ bills over the long-term. 

NorthWestern plans to maintain its targeted debt to total capital ratio of 50-55 percent through a financing structure that includes issuing up to $70 million in long-term debt, up to $60 million in common stock and funding the remaining purchase price with available cash. The acquisition is expected to be accretive to earnings but cannot be quantified until the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission (SDPUC) makes a final determination on our general rate case. We anticipate a SDPUC decision and the acquisition to close by the end of 2015.

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About NorthWestern Energy

NorthWestern Energy provides electricity and natural gas in the Upper Midwest and Northwest, serving approximately 692,600 customers in Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska.  More information on NorthWestern Energy is available on the company's website at www.northwesternenergy.com.


Investor Relations Contact:
Travis Meyer
(605) 978-2967
travis.meyer@northwestern.com

Media Contact:
Claudia Rapkoch
(866) 622-8081
claudia.rapkoch@northwestern.com


SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the “safe harbor” provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements often address our expected future business and financial performance, and often contain words such as “expects,” “anticipates,” “intends,” “plans,” “believes,” “seeks,” or “will.”  These statements are based upon our current expectations and speak only as of the date hereof. Our actual future business and financial performance may differ materially and adversely from those expressed in any forward-looking statements as a result of various factors and uncertainties, including, but not limited to:

  1. potential adverse federal, state, or local legislation or regulation or adverse determinations by regulators could have a material effect on our liquidity, results of operations and financial condition;
  2. changes in availability of trade credit, creditworthiness of counterparties, usage, commodity prices, fuel supply costs or availability due to higher demand, shortages, weather conditions, transportation problems or other developments, may reduce revenues or may increase operating costs, each of which could adversely affect our liquidity and results of operations;
  3. unscheduled generation outages or forced reductions in output, maintenance or repairs, which may reduce revenues and increase cost of sales or may require additional capital expenditures or other increased operating costs; and
  4. adverse changes in general economic and competitive conditions in the U.S. financial markets and in our service territories.

Our Annual Report on Form 10-K, recent and forthcoming Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, recent Current Reports on Form 8-K and other Securities and Exchange Commission filings discuss some of the important risk factors that may affect our business, results of operations and financial condition. 

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