By Kyla Maki
Montana’s largest energy utility, NorthWestern Energy (NWE) has filed a plan with the Montana Public Service Commission (PSC) that attempts to answer this question.
Every two years, NWE files this Resource Procurement Plan (Plan) that identifies the mix of electric resources that they will build or buy to meet the short term and long term electricity needs. If you live within the limits of a city or town in Montana, you are likely a NorthWestern Energy electric customer. This means that this resource plan affects you and your electric bill. Equally as important, NWE’s plan will affect where your electricity comes from.
Water, Water Everywhere
NorthWestern’s resource plan focuses on the “preferred” resource, or resources that the utility identifies as meeting future electricity needs. In the 2013 Plan, NWE identifies the 11 hydroelectric dams owned by Pennsylvania Power and Light (PPL) as their “preferred” resource. This doesn’t come as a surprise because NorthWestern announced last September that they agreed to purchase the dams from PPL for $900 million. The total combined capacity of the dams is just over 600 megawatts.
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