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HomeNewsAccelerated timeline for 175-MW Laurel Generating natural gas Station

Accelerated timeline for 175-MW Laurel Generating natural gas Station

The company in charge of the Laurel Generating Station liquified natural gas (LNG) plant in Montana state has announced that they plan to accelerate the timeline for its construction.  The 175-MW plant being constructed by NorthWestern Energy has been filed for a suspension of the docket timeline for the approval for capacity resources filed in the spring of 2021 from the Montana Public Service Commission. The company intends to seek a review and recovery of the asset through a general rate filing after completion and withdrawing the application for approval of the Laurel Generating Station.

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NorthWestern had asked the commission for pre-approval for putting Montana customers on a payment plan for the US$283.8 million development. The funding was expected to raise residential customer rates about US$80 a year, on average. The facility had also recently asked the PSC to pass those unanticipated higher energy costs fully onto customers rather than using a cost-sharing formula in which the utility picks up 10% of the expense. In choosing to build a natural gas-fired power plant, NorthWestern passed on several renewable energy projects. The developers argued that the pipeline costs should have been included upfront for more fair price comparison with renewable developments.

“NorthWestern Energy negotiated a very favorable price for the plant construction, however, the worldwide pandemic caused supply-chain disruptions and contributed to labor shortages across all industries, including the energy sector, that was not fully anticipated during contract negotiations. The uncertainties and upheaval in the construction market and challenges to the supply chain due to the COVID-19 pandemic have resulted in the need to make commercial decisions outside of the timelines of the approval docket,” said Bob Rowe, the NorthWestern Energy CEO.

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