Developers of a natural-gasfired power plant near Great Falls have secured $85 million in financing nearly six years after choosing a site for the plant to supply electricity for the city and a handful of electric cooperatives. Great Falls fiscal officer Coleen Balzarini confirmed that Prudential Financial bought $75 million worth of bonds while another investor bought $10 million in bonds to f inanc e the Hi ghwo o d Generating Station. The financing documents were filed with the Cascade County clerk and recorder's office. "For it to finally be completed, at least the financing phase, i s encouraging," Balzarini said Monday. Tim Gregori, CEO of the Southern Montana Electric Generation & Transmission Cooperative, was traveling out of the country and could not be reached for comment on who the other investor was. The first phase of the $250 million, 125-megawatt plant would include a single 40-megawatt turbine. A second gas turbine would come later, followed by a combined-cycle turbine that would run off the steam generated by the other two turbines. SME could begin construction on the first phase this summer, Balzarini said. That work could be completed by June 2011. SME originally proposed a $515 million, 250-megawatt coal-fired plant in 2003, but developers last year switched the fuel to natural gas. The city of Great Falls has invested about $1.1 million in the power plant. Other members include: Beartooth Electric in Red Lodge, Fergus Electric in Lewistown, Mid-Yellowstone Electric in Hysham and Tongue River Electric in Ashland. Yellowstone Valley Electric has sued SME seeking to leave the group, citing rising costs of the power plant. SME proposed the plant because its contract for electricity and other related services with the Bonneville Power Administration is due to expire in 2011.
Power plant obtains $85M in financing
Published: Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010
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