MTPR

hydropower

Coal train
(PD)

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — U.S. demand for coal to generate electricity will keep sliding in coming months, federal officials said Thursday, despite efforts by the Trump administration to shore up the struggling industry.

Renewable energy sources including wind, solar and hydropower are expected to fill much of the gap left by coal's decline, according to the Energy Information Administration.

Watercraft Inspection Station
Nick Mott / Montana Public Radio

The Montana Legislature last week tweaked the way it raises money to prevent the spread of zebra and quagga mussels in Montana waterways. The budget to do so remained about the same, but who’s paying for it changed a little.

Sen. Mike Cuffe (R) - Eureka
Montana Legislature

As negotiators from the United States and Canada consider tweaks to a longstanding treaty about the Columbia River system, Montana legislators are pushing for local water security and compensation.

The Columbia River Treaty outlines shared management of flood risk and hydropower generation along a river system that crisscrosses the international border. The United States, Canada and tribal nations are in the process of modernizing that agreement.

Hearing room at the Montana Capitol.
William Marcus / Montana Public Radio

Anglers, boaters, farmers and conservationists are all backing a new proposal at the state Legislature to spend $6.5 million fighting aquatic invasive species, but they disagree over who should foot the bill. The measure had its first hearing Monday.

Groups campaigning for the expansion of renewable energy sources rallied nearly a hundred supporters in front of NorthWestern Energy headquarters in Butte, Oct. 10, 2016.
Corin Cates-Carney

  About 100 advocates for renewable energy walked through uptown Butte earlier this week, chanting and thrusting signs in the air. Some protesters kept time on wooden blocks, tambourines and drums, as they walked toward the state headquarters of Montana’s largest utility company, NorthWestern Energy.

Hydroelectric dams like the Salish Ksanka Qlispe Dam in Polson worry invasive mussels could clog up energy production.
Corin Cates-Carney

The tribal corporation that took ownership of Kerr Dam (now called Séliš Ksanka QÍispé) just over a month ago hosted an open house explaining the change in ownership.

When Energy Keepers Incorporated of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes took over the dam in early September it became the first major hydroelectric generation facility owned by native tribes. That raised interest from politicians and policy influencers around the state. About a dozen showed up at the dam Wednesday for a tour.

Seli’š Ksanka Qlispe’ Dam, formerly Kerr Dam
Bill Barrett (CC-BY-SA-3)

Last month the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes took ownership of the Kerr hydroelectric Dam, now called the Salish Kootenai Dam. As a result, Lake County will see a serious cut in tax revenues.

Rainbow Dam
Dan Boyce

Northwestern Energy predicts electricity bills for its residential customers will decrease by $3.10 per month starting in July.

Northwestern spokesman Butch Larcombe says a couple of different factors are at play.

Small Hydropower: Renewable Energy The New Senate Could Get Behind

Dec 30, 2014
Emily Carpeaux - Inside Energy

In a tiny shack nestled in the rugged peaks of Southwestern Colorado, you can hear the sound of hydropower’s future.

It’s not construction crews, building some behemoth new dam. It’s a generator no bigger than a wheelbarrow, pulling in water from a mountain stream, making enough power for about two hot water heaters.

And fans of this little generator say it helped change the course of hydro history.

“C’mon, really, this little tiny thing ….. is causing all of this?"

That’s Beverly Rich, chairman of the San Juan County Historical Society.

Montana Politics Week In Review

Jul 18, 2014

NorthWestern Energy Dam Buyback

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