The Montana Public Service Commission (PSC) will be taking public comment in Billings on the NorthWestern Energy 2019 Resource Procurement Plan on January 2nd at 6pm (location: Billings Public Library). See below for more information about the plan.
Want to hear a crazy story?
NorthWestern Energy wants to build a fleet of expensive fracked gas power plants, continue using a filthy coal-fired power plant for 20 years, and force Montana families and small businesses to pay for all of it.
That’s the upshot of the company’s “2019 Resource Procurement Plan.”
Utilities periodically create plans showing how they will provide power at the lowest reasonable cost over the next 20 years. Unfortunately, NorthWestern’s plan appears to have been created to pad the pockets of its company executives and shareholders with ratepayer dollars (while worsening the climate crisis in the process).
What’s in the plan? About 800 megawatts of new fracked gas plants built by 2025, no new wind or solar power plants, and the Colstrip power plant (NorthWestern is a part-owner) running for 20 more years.
The PSC is taking public comment at a listening session in Missoula on December 17th. Please attend if you can to tell the PSC to protect ratepayers from this expensive and risky fracked gas plan.
WHEN: Thursday, January 2nd at 6pm
WHERE: Billings Public Library (510 N. Broadway, Billings, MT)
The Resource Plan is important. The PSC and others use it to inform key decisions, such as approving or denying new power plants. But NorthWestern made some fundamental errors when creating this one, including:
- Failing to include the cost of gas pipelines in the cost assumption for gas-fired power plants. Gas pipelines are expensive and NorthWestern has previously stated new pipelines are needed to operate any significant new gas power plants on its system.
- Failing to identify, manage, and mitigate the costs of the Colstrip power plant and the risk that the plant will shutdown well before the end of the 20-year planning horizon.
- Failing to model appropriate cost estimates for wind and solar energy facilities, including not modeling solar paired with battery storage (which would be lower cost than solar sited separately from storage thanks to access to the federal Investment Tax Credit).
- Failing to model the costs of existing power plants to demonstrate the company is managing a least-cost portfolio for ratepayers.