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NorthWestern Energy's Low Carbon Profile Protects Customers

Feb 11, 2015 |

Coal seems to be a dirty word these days, at least, for some.  We don’t agree, but that’s not the point of this post.  Recently, PPL announced that the Corette plant in Billings will close for good later this summer. The closure will have many effects, but contrary to what might appear in the Billings Gazette, our customers are not among them.

We have all the power we need to serve customers thanks to buying the hydro dams last year.  Actually, until Kerr Dam transfers as planned to the CSKT later this year, we have a little more than what we need under normal operating conditions. Our unmet market supply needs will continue to be during those extremely hot/cold days of the year when we’re experiencing high demand at certain times of the day (usually late afternoon). 

In fact, contrary to what you might hear from others, as a utility we only consume about 8-percent of the state’s coal-fired electricity.  More than half of our supply comes from wind and water.  In fact, when we purchased the dams, our total energy supply portfolio was de-carbonized (if that’s a word) by over 40-percent. We already meet or exceed the proposed EPA standards, but that’s not how the EPA is proposing to measure carbon going forward.  For the state to meet its objectives, it will require more than what NorthWestern Energy already provides in terms of clean power production combined with robust energy efficiency programs. 

So, as Montanans, we’re in for some tough decisions in the future, but NorthWestern Energy and its customers are already doing their part and then some. 

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