MTPR

Groups Rally For Renewable Energy In Butte

Oct 10, 2016

Groups campaigning for the expansion of renewable energy sources rallied nearly a hundred supporters in Butte today.

In March of this year NorthWestern Energy released a plan outlining the future of the utility’s electricity supply. Today, the groups 350 Missoula, the Montana Environmental Information Center and Northern Plains Resource Council protested the plan in front of the utility company's state headquarters in Butte.

Jeff Smith is co-chair of 350 Missoula. 

"We’re all in this together to protect the earth, and we ask NorthWestern Energy to reconsider its plan. Move away from fossil fuels," Smith said. "Move toward renewable energy."

350 Missoula says it is protesting NorthWestern’s plan to spend nearly $1.5 billion on 13 new natural gas generators.

Butch Larcombe with NorthWestern Energy says the company’s plan does consider new natural gas generation, but he says hydro, wind and solar energy will also play a role.

"It is going to continue to be that diverse mix of resources that we have now that we see into the future," says Larcombe.

The electricity supply plan was given to Montana’s utilities regulators in the Public Service Commission to review. Although the plan does not need PSC approval, the commissioners are likely to give NorthWestern feedback on the plan before the end of the year.