NorthWestern Energy

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Renewable energy program, already shaky, may be killed


A state program that requires utilities to buy from small-scale, locally owned renewable energy projects in Montana is facing a do-or-die moment in Helena. Sen. Keith Regier, R-Kalispell, is pushing Senate Bill 78, which would eliminate the Community Renewable Energy Projects program. The bill passed a final vote last week in the Senate 30-19 and now moves into the House of Representatives. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Opinion: Economics, not politics, changing coal industry


A recent spate of political ads on TV show the Montana Republican party blaming potential job losses at Colstrip and a downturn in coal production in Montana on Gov. Steve Bullock and the Democratic Party in general. Since we have spent an inordinate amount of time looking at coal issues over the past decade and more, we feel some responsibility to try to respond to this issue so that others will not be misled by blatant coal industry propaganda. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Montana Ethic Project: On technological development


This is the 10th chapter of the 32-part video series “The Montana Ethic Project.” This chapter features Bob Rowe, president and CEO of NorthWestern Energy, speaking on the subject of “Towards Technological Development.” You can watch the whole video below. Here is how it begins:
“To really understand Montana you have to understand the physical geography, the diversity of the place we live and our spirit of idealism. “But you also have to understand the people who founded Montana, who created its communities, its culture, and its economy. Obviously starting with the First Nations people from whom we still benefit so much today. Continue Reading →

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Faith leaders urge support for clean-power initiative


Many denominations advocate for care of God’s creation. Our plea urges not only an observance of ethics, but recognition of scientific proof. We agree with the overwhelming majority of climate scientists (97 percent). As climate scientist Katherine Heyhoe, wife of an evangelical pastor, explains: “The earth is warming and we are causing it.”

Is your denomination one of those faiths? Find out by scrolling down at:

You’ll see links to:  the pope and many Catholics; the 345-member World Council of Churches; Rick Warren, author of “A Purpose Driven Life,” and hundreds of other Evangelical leaders; Episcopalians; Jews; Lutherans and their LWF; Methodists;  Presbyterians; Southern Baptists; the United Church of Christ; and 10 other individual denominations or churches. Continue Reading →

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Colstrip: At the intersection of coal and climate change


On a blustery December evening, Gene Wier and his grown son Bryan are wrenching on hand-built hot rods in their machine shop on the edge of Colstrip. There’s bright light, good grease smells, a football game on the TV. They tell me to come on in. When Gene ran for town council a few years back, he recalls, he was asked to sum up what makes this town of 2,300 residents unique. His answer cut to the basics: “We have a coal plant in our front yard, and a coal mine in our back yard.”

And like most people around here, he likes it that way. Continue Reading →

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Opinion: Why the renewable-energy initiative makes sense


Brad Molnar ended The Billings Outpost’s run with an op-ed that demeaned ballot Initiative 180. We were exasperated by how little he faced facts. I-180 would require Montana’s Investor Owned Utilities (IOUs) to gradually supply 80 percent of their power from “eligible renewable resources.” That includes wind, sun, geothermal or post-2005 additions to hydroelectric facilities. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Hydro project could power shift to renewable energy


Wind chills the bright May morning as we walk the grassy plateau of Gordon Butte, a 2-mile-wide plug of volcanic rock towering above the plains about three miles west of Martinsdale, in Meagher County. The snow-streaked Crazy Mountains pull our gaze south, but we’re heading north, to the butte’s sharp, timbered edge. My tour guide, Eli Bailey, a project manager with Bozeman-based Absaroka Energy, stops to point out where an 18-foot-diameter water conduit will be drilled deep into the butte and diagonally out its base. This part of the plateau, he says, will become an 80-acre reservoir. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Pictures from a variety of Montana expeditions


At the end of what must have been one of the most open winters in the history of Montana—a year after one of the snowiest winters on record—it occurs to me that I didn’t do nearly as much traveling as I should have. And then it occurs to me that when I set out on my first big out-of-town trip this winter, to do a story on the Beaver Creek Brewery in Wibaux way back in mid-November, it was snowing, windy and bitterly cold. (more…) Continue Reading →

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