Montana Public Radio

Montana Public Service Commission

 Edit 3/18: The article has been corrected to reflect the full name of the Montana Environmental Information Center.

Montana utility regulators say they need more information from NorthWestern Energy before considering the company’s request to buy an additional share in the Colstrip coal-fired power plant.

 

NorthWestern Energy has filed to buy an extra 25 percent of Colstrip Unit 4 from Washington State’s Puget Sound Energy for $1. The Montana Consumer Counsel criticized NorthWestern for the level of information disclosed in the public plan the utility filed with state regulators last month.

Mar. 9 marked the filing deadline for public office in Montana. 

Solar panels. Stock photo.
(PD)

The Montana Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday over how the Public Service Commission should set the rates NorthWestern Energy has to pay for power it's required to buy from small solar projects.

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

State utility regulators have agreed with NorthWestern Energy’s request to block details on its new coal supply contract from becoming public — at least for the moment. This comes as Montana’s biggest utility moves to buy a larger share of the coal-fired power plant in Colstrip. 

 

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. 

Hearing sessions across Montana over the last month have given ratepayers of the state’s largest electric utility the chance to sound off on the company’s 20-year-plan for sourcing energy. While many people have lashed out against the fossil fuel heavy plan, a minority of supporters in Billings and Colstrip last week stepped up.

What NorthWestern Energy's Supply Strategy Could Mean For Customers

Dec 19, 2019

This story was originally published by the Montana Free Press on Dec. 19, 2019.

At a cramped meeting before the Montana Public Service Commission in Helena Dec. 9, a crowd of climate activists radiated suspicion as a bearded economist flipped through a slide deck.

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.

A screen capture from a NorthWestern Energy video shows a powerline corridor that must be cleared of hazard trees to help prevent wildfires.
Screen capture from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9kH464TvlSo

Montana utility regulators say NorthWestern Energy must spend at least $3.2 million a year on removing trees near power lines. Regulators are worried that power company equipment could spark flames similar to the devastating wildfire in California last year that killed more than 80 people and destroyed the town of Paradise.

Pages