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small brand Our carbon reduction vision for Montana

 

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NorthWestern Energy has made a commitment to reduce the carbon intensity of our electric energy portfolio for Montana by 90% by 2045.

Today, NorthWestern Energy serves Montana with an electric portfolio that is already 60% carbon free. That’s more than two times better than the total U.S. electric power industry. Over the last decade, we have reduced the carbon intensity of our energy generation in Montana by more than 50%.

Our vision for the future builds on the progress we have already made. The foundation of our energy generation is our hydro system, which is 100% carbon free and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Wind generation is a close second and continues to grow. While utility-scale solar energy is not a significant portion of our energy mix today, we expect it to continue to grow along with energy storage. We are committed to working with our customers and communities to help them achieve their sustainability goals and add new technology on our system.

Reaching our carbon reduction goal will require a mix of energy efficiency projects, renewable energy development, energy storage, and other new, inventive solutions to reduce our carbon output.

Since 2016, we have launched several solar pilot projects across the state. We are also investing in and evaluating energy storage, including a rural reliability project near Deer Lodge and a solar-plus-super capacitor project in Yellowstone National Park. We are developing a program to help communities and school districts deploy electric buses.

We support training and continuing education for renewable energy installers. Our work in small-scale renewables has helped foster the growth of private-generation customers on our Montana system from 700 in 2010 to almost 3,000 today.

We also help customers use energy more efficiently through our energy audit program and energy rebate programs. In total, NorthWestern Energy and its customers have invested more than $121 million in energy efficiency, demand side management and small-scale renewable energy development since 2006. Energy savings have totaled almost 685,041 MWhs of energy in the last 13 years. That is enough to power over 76,000 homes for a year!

We have invested more than $1 billion in clean energy projects in the last five years, including hydro, wind and solar. This includes $9.5 million for upgrades at Ryan and Hauser hydro facilities, adding an additional 5 megawatts (MW) of hydro energy. Planned upgrades at Madison, Hauser and Black Eagle hydro facilities will add 8.7 MW more hydro energy to our Montana portfolio.

In 2020, we will begin an upgrade to our gas and electric metering system in Montana. The upgraded system will help us better assist our customers with their individual energy needs and more quickly detect and respond to power outages. The system will also provide data that will assist us in making the power grid more efficient and reliable.

We believe it is reasonable to have an electric energy portfolio for Montana that reduces carbon by 90% by 2045, compared to 2010. We are committed to working with our customers, communities and the State of Montana to develop an energy future that is affordable, reliable, environmentally responsible and capable of meeting the needs of all customers.

As our Environmental Stewardship Report reflects, we have a long history of success when we work collaboratively to put our environmental commitment and compliance in action. Together we can work for a responsible evolution of Montana’s energy future. Join us in the conversation at MorePowerToYou.org.

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