Photo Credit: Gary Marshall

Great news!

The Helena City Commission will be voting on a “100% clean, renewable electricity by 2030” resolution on Feb 24th at 6pm (in the Commission’s Chambers at the City-County Building).

This is likely one of our best chances for positive climate action this year. It will help Helena place renewed emphasis on renewable energy and energy efficiency and send a clear signal to NorthWestern Energy, the legislature, PSC, and others about the direction Montanans want to go.

Please help get this vote across the finish line! Here’s how:

(If you really want to dig in, the very bottom of this post has much more background info.)

Thank you for helping achieve cleaner air, water, and energy for Helena!

City Commission Vote

When: February 24th. Meeting begins at 6pm
Where: City County Building (316 N. Park). Commission Chambers, 3rd floor.
What: Vote on resolution setting aspirational goal of Helena being powered by 100% clean, renewable electricity by 2030. Mayor Collins and the City Commissioners need to hear that their constituents support setting this goal! Please come to the meeting, consider giving public comment, and show your support for clean energy and climate action.
*Facebook Event Link*


Helena Ready for 100 Background Information

The Problem/Issue
Without addressing climate change, Helena’s public health, economy, outdoor recreation opportunities, and our Montana way of life will be adversely impacted.

The Solution
More than 150 cities around the country have set a goal of reaching 100% clean, renewable electricity. These goals helps communicate to important decisionmakers – from the local utility to government entities – the direction we want to go with our energy sources.

Improves Public Health
– In the West, fire season now lasts 78 days longer than it did in the 1970’s.[1]
– Dirty energy pollutes, putting our communities’ health and childrens’ future on the line.
– Clean energy such as wind, solar, and energy efficiency is cleaner, healthier, and cheaper than fossil fuels.
– Everyone deserves clean air, clean water, a stable climate, and affordable bills.

Creates Jobs and Saves Money
– Striving for 100% clean, renewable electricity would create a wide range of employment opportunities in the expanding fields of solar, wind, and energy efficiency.
– Energy efficiency and rooftop solar help save money for residents, schools, businesses, and more.
– Montana has one of the best wind energy potentials in the country.
– According to the Montana Consumer Counsel, coal power plants are the most expensive energy for NorthWestern Energy ratepayers while wind power plants are the cheapest.[2]

Unlocks Potential for More Climate Gains
In Helena, almost 75 percent of greenhouse gas emissions result from electricity generation and transportation.[3] Striving for 100 percent clean, renewable electricity would help drastically reduce these emissions, first by cleaning up our electric grid and later by transitioning, as feasible, transportation activity to be powered by a clean grid.

Climate Change is a Threat to Helena’s Way of Life
The 2017 Montana Climate Assessment determined that for Central Montana, including the City of Helena, climate change is projected to cause increased annual temperatures, hotter summers, reduced low-elevation snowpack, earlier spring snowmelt, and more frequent and intense droughts, wildfires, and wildfire smoke, with harmful impacts to ecosystems, human health, and the economy, and that these impacts will be more severe if global greenhouse gas emissions are not reduced sharply in the near future.[4]

A 100% Goal Would Build on Helena’s Previous Climate Actions

2007: Resolution 19530
“(T)here is scientific evidence sufficient to conclude that global climate change is occurring, that humans are contributing to it, and that reductions in greenhouse gases (GHG) are necessary in order to avert the negative consequences of a changing climate.”

This resolution initiated the creation of a Helena Climate Action Plan.

2009: Climate Action Plan created by citizen experts and accepted by city
The plan envisioned “a 20 percent reduction [in GHG from municipal operations] from 2007 levels by 2020.”

2011: Growth Policy
Objective adopted as part of the policy: “Establish a municipal greenhouse gas reduction goal and implement the recommendations of the 2009 Climate Change Action Plan.”[5]

2017: Resolution 20375
Affirmations included:

“The city of Helena recognizes global climate change is occurring, humans are contributing to it and reductions in greenhouse gases are necessary to avert the negative consequences of a changing climate.”

“City of Helena supports the world effort to hold warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius and to accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy that will benefit Helena’s security, prosperity, and health.”

“City of Helena will continue to support action to meet the Paris Agreement.”

Examples of Steps the City Could Take to Help Achieve This Goal

– Expand the city’s rooftop solar revolving loan program.
– Improve energy efficiency in city buildings.
– Deploy money-saving rooftop solar on city buildings.
– Thoughtfully convert to LED street lighting.
– Support efforts to put rooftop solar on government buildings within Helena, such as schools.
– Collaborate with the local utility and other cities around Montana to unlock new policy and regulatory options.

[1] Montana Public Radio, “Fire Officials Predict Average Fire Season In Montana,” 6/7/19.
[2] “Residential Electricity Rates of NorthWestern Energy Through June 2017,” Montana Consumer Counsel, found at
[3] Draft Helena Community Greenhouse Gas Analysis, found at
[4] Montana Climate Assessment. Found at
[5] 2011 Helena Growth Policy, page 7-26.

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