Montana Standard op-ed: Dam purchase "watershed" moment

NorthWestern Energy’s proposed purchase of 11 hydropower dams from PPL Montana marks a watershed moment for cleaner and more affordable energy to serve Montana’s businesses and families.

When NorthWestern announced the proposed purchase last September, it noted that adding 600 megawatts of clean hydropower would diversify its resource mix and protect its customers from current and future price risks — including regulatory risks — associated with burning fossil fuels.

The latter point is particularly telling: PPL wanted NorthWestern to buy the dams as part of a package that included its shares of the Colstrip and Corette coal plants. But NorthWestern ran the numbers and assigned a large negative value to the coal plants. NorthWestern — using standard industry modeling — assigned Colstrip and Corette a value of minus $340 million.

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