Going the Wrong Way Fast

Like the infamous Montana Power before it, NorthWestern Energy wields too much political and economic power. The company is strangling innovation, and its lobbyist in the Montana Legislature has called solar power “a cancer.”

Right now, NorthWestern Energy is making critical decisions about our future energy system. We are on the right track, with the Keystone XL pipeline and the Otter Creek coalmine rejected, coal exports tanking, and the giant coal generators at Colstrip scheduled for retirement.

NorthWestern Energy is going the wrong way! It wants to build a grand total of 13 natural gas electric generators of various sizes (18 MW to 348 MW) in the near future. It wants to cut what it pays farmers, businesses, and residents for the electricity generated by small solar facilities.

At a time when our climate demands carbon-free energy, Northwestern Energy is deliberately exaggerating the cost of new wind farms and solar developments. The company and the Public Service Commission killed a new wind farm at Big Timber.

You might have heard that natural gas is a “bridge fuel” or a “clean” fossil fuel. Natural gas is mostly methane (CH4), and methane is more than 80 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide (CO2). Though it burns cleaner, methane is “fracked.” Well-head leaks and faulty pipelines have increased methane emissions by more than 30 percent between 2002 and 2014. We’re losing to methane what we’re gaining by shutting down coal plants and reducing CO2!

NorthWestern Energy limits all solar installations below a 50 kw cap and makes farmers and other businesses use separate meters for each solar array.  The company opposes people getting cheaper energy from the sun. It is disrupting a burgeoning new industry.