Montana Public Radio

NorthWestern Energy

Montana energy regulators Tuesday set contract terms for what NorthWestern Energy pays small generation facilities, like wind and solar, for the energy they produce.

Regulators on the Montana Public Service Commission lengthened potential contracts from a maximum 15 years to 20 years flat.

Capitol Talk: Antifa; 'Religious Freedom', And Limits On Local Control

Feb 19, 2021

Bills heard this week at the Capitol seek to: limit the ability of local governments and health departments to require restrictions during a public health emergency; limit services to LGBTQ people in the name of religious freedom; make Montana a right-to-work state; declare antifa a domestic terrorist organization — even though there isn't such an organization.

And after years of criticizing dark money groups, former Gov. Steve Bullock raises eyebrows by taking a position with a PAC tied to dark money.

Listen now on Capitol Talk with Sally Mauk, Holly Michels and Rob Saldin.

A bill before the Montana legislature would repeal a law that requires a majority of voters to approve proposed nuclear power facilities.

Representative Derek Skees, a Republican from Kalispell, introduced House Bill 273 and told a House committee Monday that the Legislature should decide whether to grant a nuclear facility approval.

Windmills in a grassy field
iStock

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — For the third time this year, a court has ruled that Montana's Public Service Commission has ignored energy law in setting prices for a wind or solar farm.

District Judge Kathy Seeley ruled the commission underpaid Caithness Beaver Creek for electricity it was scheduled to sell to the state’s largest monopoly utility NorthWestern Energy as part of a proposed $500 million wind and battery storage project, the Billings Gazette reported Wednesday.

Daines' Forest Management Bill Hear In Subcommittee

Sep 21, 2020

Montana Senator Steve Daines on Sept. 16 stumped for legislation he helped draft, saying more forest management would protect communities from wildfires.

Republican Daines presented his Emergency Wildfire and Public Safety Act of 2020 to the Senate Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests, and Mining.

Montana state regulators will consider NorthWestern Energy’s proposed purchase in a greater share of the Colstrip coal fired power plant in mid December.

The Montana Public Service Commission (PSC) set a hearing date of Dec. 14 at its meeting on Aug. 25.

NorthWestern filed a motion on Aug. 14 to expedite the first hearing on its proposed 92-MGW acquisition in Colstrip unit 4 to November. Intervenors said that’s not enough time for discovery.

PSC staff’s suggested mid December hearing is before newly elected commissioners take their seats.

The Montana Supreme Court Monday, Aug. 24 sided with solar power developers who accused regulators and the state’s largest utility of trying to block renewable energy projects.

Justices upheld a lower court ruling that said state regulators knew their actions would hurt solar development when they suspended a federal law requiring companies to buy power from alternative energy sources.

Editor’s Note 08/20/20: The original version of this story misattributed the included quote and it has since been corrected.

Montana electric utility regulators are investigating the effect of the novel coronavirus on a rate structuring pilot program from the state’s largest utility.

This week, the Montana Public Service Commission (PSC) ordered NorthWestern Energy to submit a report factoring in financial impacts from the novel coronavirus on the utility’s decoupling program.

Emergency funds and protections against electricity shut offs are set to expire for many Montanans at the end of the month. The number of people facing shut offs may be small now but demand for aid is growing with winter heating bills on the horizon.

Amy Ensign says she’s been fielding a lot of calls recently.

“Hi, so you were calling about some energy assistance," Ensign says.

In the latest step of a long pre approval process, the commission that regulates electric utilities in Montana wants to know how big a share NorthWestern Energy intends to purchase in the Colstrip coal fired power plant.

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