NorthWestern Energy has announced the signing of two separate Memorandums of Understanding with Western Area Power Administration to coordinate planning of regional transmission projects.

Under the agreements, NorthWestern Energy and Western will undertake joint planning and study work to determine how the Montana Renewable Collector System and the Mountain States Transmission Intertie projects may enhance Western's Transmission Infrastructure Program's mission of enabling renewable energy development. Should these joint efforts identify value to Western, it could lead to further cooperative agreements between the utilities.

"We believe these MOUs provide a significant step forward in determining how NorthWestern and Western can work together to provide regional, cost-effective solutions for renewable project developers' transmission capacity needs," said Bob Rowe, NorthWestern Energy's President and CEO.

These agreements do not request or obligate any government funding for development or construction of any specific project. That does not preclude future participation by either party should the joint planning studies determine that there is value in participating.