MTPR

solar power

Call it a sign of the times.

Renewable energy has gotten so cheap that even oil giant Exxon Mobil, which reported $20.8 billion in earnings in 2018, is getting in on the savings.

NorthWestern Energy is asking the state Public Service Commission (PSC) to approve a new fee that certain customers will have to pay if they generate more energy than they use and feed it onto the electric grid, a process known as net-metering.
iStock

Advocates for homeowners generating electricity through rooftop solar panels protested a request by the state’s largest utility Thursday that could increase power bills for some of those customers.

Coal train
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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.

Solar panels. Stock photo.
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BUTTE, Mont. (AP) — Officials say a proposed solar project development north of Dillon would be the largest commercial solar facility in Montana if approved.

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.

Wind turbines.
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Coal powered energy does not behave like wind and solar energy. Economists at the University of Montana say this means extra costs are tacked on to renewable energy as demand for it grows. But renewable energy advocates are critical of this analysis.

Solar panels.
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Environmental groups and renewable energy companies are suing Montana regulators in an attempt to strike down new rules that limit how they can sell solar energy.

Renewable energy advocates say a recent order from the Public Service Commission violates state and federal law and unfairly targets their industry, a notion that state regulators reject.

Solar panels. Stock photo.
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Montana lawmakers sent a letter to the state’s congressional delegates Thursday expressing concern that President Donald Trump may put taxes on solar panels imported into the United States.

Within the coming weeks President Trump could place tariffs on imported solar panels following complaints by two U.S. manufacturers saying that low-cost imports were hurting their businesses.

New terms for small solar projects across Montana might have been knowingly set to discourage development. That's based on a conversation caught on a hot mic last week during a mid-session break for a Public Service Commission meeting.


Solar panel installation.
Wayne National Forest (CC-BY-2)

After supporters of the so-called Solar Jobs and Energy Freedom Act rallied in the state Capitol yesterday in support of more solar energy development, legislation to do so stalled in committee today on a tie vote.

House Bill 504 failed to get enough votes to move out of the House Energy Technology and Federal Relations committee.

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