HELENA — Two wind developers have asked Montana's Public Service Commission to keep their bids to buy a 40-megawatt wind farm in Judith Basin County from public view.
The Independent Record reported Friday that Sagebrush Wind and Invenergy want their proposals for the project sealed, citing trade secrets. They made the request in May while the PSC considers approving NorthWestern Energy's plans for the farm.
Lee Newspapers of Montana and The Associated Press objected to the request, saying if price and cost information for NorthWestern's plans are made public, the same should hold for the bids from Sagebrush Wind and Invenergy.
The PSC delayed action on the request to allow the developers time to respond to the news media's objection.
The PSC is reviewing NorthWestern's May 31 request to approve its proposed purchase of the Spion Kop wind project, which would be built by Compass Wind of Denver. The site is near Raynesford.
NorthWestern chose Spion Kop after a year-and-a-half-long process that examined numerous offers from renewable-power developers, most of which were wind projects.
Sagebrush, of Jackson, Wyo., and Invenergy, of Chicago, were finalists. Invenergy owns and operates one of the largest wind farms in Montana, the 135-megawatt Judith Gap project north of Harlowton.
The bid information includes prices and costs, wind data, financial models and legal analyses. It will be submitted to the commission to help it determine if NorthWestern chose the best project for consumers.
Compass Wind, developer of Spion Kop, asked to protect some information but not that concerning prices and costs. Pricing information for Spion Kop was included in NorthWestern's request for approval.
Lee Newspapers and the AP said if price and cost information for Spion Kop is made public, the same information for the other two proposals should be divulged to the public.