Montana Public Radio

NorthWestern Energy

Coal with the town of Colstrip in the background
Amy Martin

On Monday the operator of the Colstrip power plant said it wants out of its contract to run the coal-burning facility. Pennsylvania-based Talen Energy owns part of the plant and operates the entire facility. The company says it is losing millions of dollars there. Governor Bullock talked with MTPR’s Corin Cates Carney Wednesday.

Governor Steve Bullock met with utility companies and advocates for energy efficiency and low-income Montanans in Missoula Wednesday. It was the second in a series of roundtable discussions on energy Bullock is hosting across the state.

  The CEO of Northwestern energy has accepted Governor Steve Bullock’s offer to be part of a working group on the future ownership of the Colstrip coal-fired power plant.

Bullock made the invitation yesterday, the same day he announced the working group. He says he’s concerned about the future of Colstrip as there’s talk lately about two of the power plant’s out of state co-owners perhaps selling their shares or shutting parts of Colstrip down.

Northwestern CEO Bob Rowe told the Governor his company is willing to participate in the working group.

Colstrip power plant, Montana
Courtesy Montana AFI-CIO

Today Governor Steve Bullock said he wants to convene a "working group" to explore alternative ownership of most of the Colstrip coal-fired electricity plant.

NorthWestern Energy Ordered To Refund Montana Customers $8.2M

Mar 29, 2016
NorthWestern Energy truck.
Sue Ginn / Montana Public Radio

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana regulators on Tuesday ordered NorthWestern Energy to refund customers $8.24 million that the state's largest power company charged when it had to buy electricity on the open market following a 2013 outage of the Colstrip coal plant.

(PD)

Tuesday’s Supreme Court vote to temporarily block the Obama Administration's climate change regulations is receiving praise and criticism in Montana.

Wind, Flooding Problems Across Western Montana

Dec 9, 2015
National Weather Service Missoula, MT

Severe wind and flooding was reported from all across the western parts of the state today. Helena seemed to be hit the hardest with wind.

NorthWestern Energy officials say they won't appeal a big increase in the company's Montana property taxes after last year's $900 million purchase of 11 hydroelectric dams.

Instead, the company's customers will pay for most of the nearly $23 million tax hike.

Colstrip power plant as seen in the early 1980s.
David T. Hanson (CC-BY-SA-2)

A study released Wednesday says that complying with President Obama's Clean Power Plan will cost Montana more than 7,000 jobs and more than $2 billion in wages and sales. Those numbers were quickly trumpeted by Montana elected officials who oppose the nationwide plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, including Attorney General Tim Fox, who has joined Montana to a multi-state lawsuit to halt the plan.

A University of Montana study funded by the state’s largest electric utility predicts dire economic consequences to the state because of the president’s plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. The study is drawing sharp criticism from advocates of alternative energy.

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