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Whitehall Wind, LLC, v. Montana Public Service Commission

Whitehall Wind, LLC, v. Montana Public Service Commission, 2015 MT 119 (May 5, 2015) (Baker, J.) (5-0, rev’d)

Issue: Whether the district court properly reversed the PSC’s determination that Whitehall had not established a legally enforceable obligation to deliver energy to Northwestern.

Short Answer: No.

Reversed and remanded for reinstatement of the PSC’s June 2012 order

Facts: Federal law requires large electric utilities to buy available energy from qualifying facilities, which may provide energy, capacity or both pursuant to a contract or a legally enforceable obligation. Montana law requires the PSC to set rates and conditions if a qualifying small power production facility and a utility are unable to mutually agree to a contract for the sale of electricity.

Whitehall Wind is a qualifying facility, and Northwestern is a public utility subject to the PSC’s jurisdiction.…