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NorthWestern Energy Director Environmental & Lands Permitting & Compliance Mary Gail Sullivan receives hydropower industry’s highest honor

Date: Nov 7, 2022

TYPE: News

Butte, Mont. – Nov. 7, 2022– NorthWestern Energy Director Environmental & Lands Permitting & Compliance Mary Gail Sullivan received the 32nd Dr. Kenneth Henwood Award from the National Hydropower Association.

Created in 1990, the award is the industry’s highest honor and is presented to those who show great leadership and dedication to hydropower and unwavering commitment to the industry in the spirit of its namesake, who was a developer and lover of the hydro resource.

HDR Senior Vice President Renewable Energy Service Richard Millers presents NorthWestern Energy Director Environmental & Lands Permitting & Compliance Mary Gail Sullivan with the National Hydropower Association’s Dr. Kenneth Henwood Award, the industry’s highest honor. 

Born and raised in Butte, Montana, Sullivan earned a bachelor’s degree in outdoor recreation from the W.A. Franke College of Forestry and Conservation -- University of Montana, and joined the Montana Power Co.’s Environmental Department. In her role of Director of Hydro Relicensing for nine hydroelectric projects on the Missouri and Madison rivers in Montana, she lead and fostered innovative stewardship solutions for the protection, mitigation and enhancement of this resource along its 525-mile river corridor. 

Sullivan also earned a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Montana.

As NorthWestern Energy’s Manager, Environmental Department, Sullivan’s poise, clear communication and positive attitude were always present when the company bought 11 hydroelectric projects and one storage reservoir from PPL Montana. She was responsible for educating the Montana Public Service Commission members, their staff and stakeholders about the purchase. Sullivan’s work provided an understanding and appreciation that NorthWestern Energy would be a responsible and dedicated steward of the resource with a focus on environmental compliance.

Sullivan carries the torch of the hydro industry with quiet equipoise, pragmatic problem-solving, and reverence for hearing all sides, her nominators said. One of her many talents is the gift of hearing diverse opinions and finding common ground, they added.

“Hydropower gives me the opportunity to work with a multitude of interests to find good solutions.  Besides generating electricity, the projects provide recreation, fish and wildlife habitats, flood control, beautiful scenery and many other benefits; and they emit zero carbon,” Sullivan said. “I deeply care about the environment, and I want to leave the world a bit better for the next generation. I believe hydropower is part of the climate change solution.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

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About NorthWestern Energy (Nasdaq: NWE)

NorthWestern Corporation, doing business as NorthWestern Energy, provides essential energy infrastructure and valuable services that enrich lives and empower communities while serving as long-term partners to our customers and communities. We are working to deliver safe, reliable, and innovative energy solutions that create value for customers, communities, employees, and investors. This includes bridging our history as a regulated utility safely providing low-cost and reliable service with our future as a globally-aware company offering a broader array of services performed by highly-adaptable and skilled employees. We provide electricity and / or natural gas to approximately 753,600 customers in Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska and Yellowstone National Park. We have provided service in South Dakota and Nebraska since 1923 and in Montana since 2002. More information is available on the company's Web site at


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