NorthWestern Energy believes in a robust, diverse energy supply mix that includes water, wind, natural gas, wind and solar. Our supply mix differs by region. In Montana, more than half of our electricity (about 56-percent) is generated by wind and water with the remainder coming from mostly coal and natural gas-fired sources. In South Dakota, about 25-percent of our electricity is generated by wind. Our remaining supply comes from coal-fired plants that we own jointly with other regional utilities and that we’ve recently upgraded to meet federal regional haze requirements. Click here to learn more how, and from where, we generate electricity in Montana and South Dakota.
Renewable energy produced by the sun, wind and water are important to our energy supply mix. Even more important is the cost and risk associated with energy production. There are pros and cons to every generation source, so we use sophisticated computer modeling to determine the right mix of energy resources that takes into account the ever changing policy, technology and consumer landscape.
Montana has customer-funded programs that are intended to promote small-scale renewable development. To learn more about these programs, click here.
We’re also working on some pilot projects to learn more about integrating utility-scale solar and other renewable technology applications on to our system. We’ve committed $3 million in investments across our service area. Click on one of the links below to learn about the first two announced projects.
- Deer Lodge Rural Reliability
- City of Bozeman Partnership
The development of new renewable energy requires a hard look at public policies to make sure that consumers are protected from unreasonable price increases or unfair cost shifts. Each of our utility jurisdictions is different. Montana has a net metering statute while South Dakota does not.
Policies that were put in place 20 years ago to defray the cost of renewable and home-based generation aren’t keeping up with the changing times. So, by working together with our customers we envision a path forward where we can achieve our shared goals for clean, reliable and affordable energy. Net metering and the issues surrounding it are complex, so we’ve created a video to help explain what it is and why we need to modernize the policy. We have the opportunity to get it right and make it work for all customers.