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Currently, there are three BAD clean energy bills in the Senate energy committee that you can help stop: two bad bills on net metering and one bad bill that would eliminate Community Renewable Energy Projects.

Net Metering

Net metering is a policy that allows individuals and businesses that install a wind, solar, or micro-hydro system on their own property to receive credit on their energy bill for any extra energy produced that goes onto the grid. Renewable energy system owners only get this credit when their system puts this extra energy onto the grid – energy that NorthWestern Energy turns around and sells to others on the grid.

When the Republican controlled legislature first passed net metering in 1999, it found that “it is in the public interest to promote net metering because it encourages private investment in renewable energy resources, stimulates Montana’s economic growth, and enhances the continued diversification of the energy resources used in Montana.”

We couldn’t agree more.

Community Renewable Energy Projects

Montana’s Renewable Energy Standard includes a provision supporting Community Renewable Energy Projects (CREPs). These are projects that must be majority owned by Montana individuals or businesses and less than 25 Megawatts in size. This CREPs provision is designed to spur local jobs and economic development while also putting clean energy onto the grid.

Only investor owned utilities are required to comply with this part of the law. Montana Dakota Utilities is in compliance but NorthWestern Energy is not. Rather than comply with the law, NorthWestern instead wants to just remove the CREPs requirement.

Take action today to support clean energy in Montana! Please use the tool on this page to contact the members of the Senate Energy committee. The message sent reads as follows:

Dear Senator,

I am contacting you to request that you vote against Senate Bills 1, 7, and 32.

SB 1 and 7 would harm solar energy jobs and economic development in Montana by discriminating against net metered customers in part by placing unnecessary and costly burdens on them. When the legislature created net metering in 1999 it found that net metering “encourages private investment in renewable energy resources, stimulates Montana’s economic growth, and enhances the continued diversification of the energy resources used in Montana.” This remains true today and we should not be harming this growing sector of our economy.

SB 32 would also hurt jobs in Montana by repealing the Community Renewable Energy Projects (CREPs) provision of the Renewable Energy Standard. Community renewable energy projects are majority locally owned projects that put the clean energy they produce on the grid right here in Montana. Montana Dakota Utilities is in compliance with CREPs – only NorthWestern Energy is not. Passage of this bill would mean the lost of these jobs and clean energy for Montana.

Thank you for your consideration.

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