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RNP Press Release
September 8, 2014

State Reports Finds Renewable Energy Good for Montana

HELENA, Mont. – Montana’s renewable energy standard has been successful in bringing new economic development to rural parts of Montana and has had little, if any, impact on the rates that customers pay for their electricity, according to a study by state legislators.

The Legislature’s Energy and Communications Interim Committee spent the past year and a half assessing the costs and benefits of Montana’s renewable energy standard policy, and in its final report issued today, it determined that because of its benefits, the standard should remain in effect.

“The state’s in-depth report validates our longstanding view that renewable energy is affordable and provides numerous economic benefits for Montana,” said Renewable Northwest’s executive director Rachel Shimshak.

Despite the clear benefits of renewable energy, the interim committee did not make any recommendations about increasing Montana’s renewable standard, which requires the state to get 15% of its electricity from wind, solar and other new renewables by 2015.

“Regardless,” said Shimshak, “Renewable Northwest will be working to promote additional investment in wind and solar resources in the state—resources whose costs continue to fall.  The long-term rate stability for customers, and additional economic benefits to local communities from clean energy, will continue to broaden the benefits of renewables across the state.”

“The renewable energy standard has helped to create much needed jobs in my county without increasing electric rates,” said Richard Moe, Wheatland County commissioner. ”I hope the state can identify ways to bring more renewable energy projects to counties like mine which need these tax dollars to sustain our rural communities.”

The committee’s report comes on the heels of a decision by the Public Service Commission last week to approve Northwestern Energy’s buy-back of 11 hydroelectric dams in the state from the utility PPL. The deal is noteworthy because Northwestern excluded acquiring PPL’s stake in the Colstrip coal-burning power plant, which accountants determined was a $340 million liability.

“Montana has the opportunity to be a clean energy leader as market and regulatory pressures transition it away from coal generation,” said Jeff L. Fox, policy manager for Renewable Northwest in Montana.

For more information contact:

Amy Baird
Communications Manager

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