SIOUX FALLS, S.D., Jan. 20, 2002 -- NorthWestern Energy, the energy delivery division of NorthWestern Corp., announced that it recently signed natural gas supply, management and distribution delivery contracts with two new ethanol plants being developed in eastern South Dakota.
Natural gas supply contracts were reached with James Valley Ethanol, managed by The Broin Companies of Sioux Falls, to serve its new 45 million gallon per year plant being developed near Groton, S.D., and Brookings, S.D.-based VeraSun Energy to serve its new 100 million gallon per year ethanol plant near Aurora, S.D.
The James Valley Ethanol and VeraSun plants are the seventh and eighth ethanol facilities in South Dakota that NorthWestern Energy has contracted with to provide natural gas service. "Our South Dakota service area is rich in production agriculture. Any time we can expand value-added opportunities such as ethanol, everyone wins," said Mike Hanson, president and chief executive officer of NorthWestern Energy. "It is especially rewarding for NorthWestern Energy to play a role in generating economic development initiatives in eastern South Dakota."
The James Valley Ethanol plant is under construction and is scheduled to be operational in the second quarter of 2003. NorthWestern Energy has begun construction of a 19-mile, 6-inch steel pipeline to serve the plant. The facility is expected to use 2 million MMBTU annually - enough natural gas to heat more than 22,000 homes.
Construction on the Aurora plant has also begun, and the facility is scheduled to be operational during the fourth quarter 2003. NorthWestern Energy will begin construction on a 28-mile, 8-inch steel pipeline to serve the plant in the spring of 2003. The facility is expected to use 4 million MMBTU annually - enough natural gas to heat more than 44,000 residential homes for a year.
NorthWestern Energy began serving natural gas to its first ethanol plant in Scotland, S.D., more than 10 years ago. Today, the company purchases, delivers and manages the natural gas needs for ethanol facilities in Aberdeen, Huron, Wentworth and Big Stone, S.D. In addition to the James Valley Ethanol and VeraSun plants, NorthWestern Energy previously signed a contract to provide approximately 2 million MMBTU of natural gas annually to serve Great Plains Ethanol for its plant being constructed near Chancellor, S.D., which is also scheduled to be operational in 2003. The combined annual usage of natural gas for the eight plants is estimated to be more than 11 million MMBTU - enough natural gas to heat nearly 122,000 residential homes for a year.
"Because of our experience, we understand what it takes to meet the energy needs of an ethanol operation," said Curt Pohl, NorthWestern Energy's vice president of operations in South Dakota and Nebraska. "Serving the growing ethanol industry is really a partnership for us. Over the years, the ethanol industry and NorthWestern Energy have grown through a shared relationship."
NorthWestern Energy provides electricity, natural gas and related services to more than 590,000 customers in Montana, eastern South Dakota and central Nebraska. The company is a partner business of NorthWestern Corporation, a FORTUNE 500 company, serving more than 2 million customers nationwide in the energy and communications sector. More information on NorthWestern Corporation can be found on the Internet at www.northwestern.com.