Montana Public Radio

John Hines


The state’s largest utility has warned the public about the potential likelihood of an electricity blackout while talking about how it intends to build up its energy portfolio. 

As Yellowstone Public Radio News reports, a 2019 analysis shows the region could face potential shortages as coal-fired power plants retire in coming years, but doesn’t factor in new power projects likely to come online.

 

The state’s largest utility filed its intent to purchase an added share of the Colstrip coal-fired power plant in eastern Montana on Wednesday.

NorthWestern Energy filed paperwork with the Montana Public Service Commission Feb. 6 asking for approval to buy an added 25 percent share of Colstrip Unit 4 from Puget Sound energy for $1. 

Montana’s largest electricity provider on Tuesday announced it plans to buy a larger share of the Colstrip power plant a day after protesters rallied the company to increase its renewable energy portfolio.

NorthWestern Energy building in Butte, Montana.
Nora Saks / Montana Public Radio

Environmental advocacy groups and the state’s largest utility company are arguing over how much customers should pay for power coming from the coal-fired power plant in Colstrip.

For the first time in 10 years Montana regulators are revisiting NorthWestern Energy’s ownership at Colstrip in a big picture look at how much the company earns and charges its customers.

Tonight on Capitol Talk: The state budget sails through the Legislature; Gov. Bullock says he's "skeptical" about the "save Colstrip" bill; a Colstrip senator launches a vitriolic video slamming press coverage of the Colstrip bill; Attorney General Tim Fox opposes ending Obamacare; and three more candidates enter the races for governor and U.S. House. 

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

NorthWestern Energy is asking Montana lawmakers to back a bill that would allow them to bypass some oversight by state regulators. 

The so-called Montana Energy Security Act of 2019 passed out of the Senate late last week.

6/17/14: This week on "Home Ground Radio:" If second chances are rare, it's even rarer to have a chance to buy back something valuable that you sold. Montana's electricity-generating dams are for sale.  Should we buy them back? NorthWestern Energy's Bob Rowe and John Hines think so.