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NorthWestern Energy asks Helena mayor to participate in productive dialogue about Montana's energy future

Jun 27, 2019

Butte, Mont. – Montana is facing serious challenges that will impact the reliability and affordability of electricity for all of us soon and productive dialogue is critical.

It is harmful when some politicians, environmental groups and others choose to sacrifice opportunities for meaningful, inclusive discussions about Montana’s energy future to pull off campaign stunts and hurl inflammatory, untruthful comments intended to villainize NorthWestern Energy to promote their own narrow agendas.

Wednesday NorthWestern Energy Vice President of Energy Supply John Hines spent almost an hour discussing the closure of Colstrip Units 1 & 2 with members of the Montana Legislative Consumer Committee, related transmission capacity and opportunities. Although Montana has been blessed with excess energy generation, the retirement of Colstrip, including Colstrip 1 & 2, is going to make that blessing go away, Hines said.

That testimony is available here.

“In fact, we are very concerned that the power supply market is going to be more and more constrained,” he said.

There is an important distinction between types of generation and the availability of energy from those generating sources at key times –when there are adverse temperatures and factors that hinder generation from renewable sources, such as night fall, snow cover or no wind, Hines said.

Not having electricity available at those critical times jeopardizes NorthWestern Energy customers, Hines said.

Instead of participating in this conversation that is important for all Montanans, Wilmot Collins, the mayor of Helena and candidate for a Montana U.S. Senate seat, and people who we were told by members of the media with Collins are members of The Sierra Club and Moms For Clean Air, showed up in the Butte NorthWestern Energy General Office Thursday morning demanding to deliver a week-old letter to NorthWestern Energy CEO Bob Rowe with demands for an energy portfolio that would put Montanans at risk of an insufficient energy supply at a cost of billions of dollars.

Although Collins did not attempt to confirm that Bob Rowe would be in Butte today, he did call members of the media based in Butte to let them know his plans.

In fact, Collins was invited to sit on a stakeholder group by NorthWestern Energy. Although he accepted the invitation, he did not attend the meetings.

Montanans can’t afford to tolerate this behavior. We must engage with groups willing to discuss solutions for Montana’s energy future. NorthWestern Energy recognizes the state’s energy future will be different and we must have a responsible transition to progress to that new future. We are working towards a cleaner energy future. At the beginning of 2019, more than 60 % of electricity in the portfolio NorthWestern Energy serves Montana customers with was from carbon-free generation, from hydro, wind and solar. That carbon-free portion of our portfolio continues to grow and will increase going forward.

Read NorthWestern Energy’s Executive Summary of the Draft Montana Electric Procurement Plan here. 

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About NorthWestern Energy (NYSE: NWE)
NorthWestern Energy provides electricity and natural gas in the Upper Midwest and Northwest, serving approximately 726,400 customers in Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska. More information on NorthWestern Energy is available on the company's website at

Media Contact:
Jo Dee Black
(866) 622-8081

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