The Public Service Commission (PSC) will be taking public comment on the NorthWestern Energy 2019 Resource Procurement Plan on December 9th at 1:30pm and 5pm at the PSC office in Helena (1701 Prospect Ave, Helena, MT). See below for more information about the plan.  There is also information about FREE transportation coming from Missoula, Bozeman, and Billings to bring people to the hearing.

FREE TRANSPORTATION TO DECEMBER 9th HEARING 

Billings

Van departs Billings at 7:00 AM.
220 S 27th Street, Billings
RSVP: sydney@northernplains.org

Missoula

Bus departs Missoula at 9:00 AM.
Parking lot across from Missoula College (cars can be parked there for no charge all day)
1205 East Broadway
Return by 6:00 pm.
RSVP: david.merrill@sierraclub.org

Bozeman

Bus departs Bozeman at 11:15 AM.
Old KMart parking lot (cars can be parked there for no charge all day)
1126 N. 7th Ave.
Return by 5:00 pm
RSVP: greg.findley@gmail.com

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 Public Service Commission (PSC) is taking public comment on the plan right now. Take action today – submit a comment online pushing back against NorthWestern’s plan! And plan to attend the public comment hearing on December 9th at either 1:30pm or 5pm at the PSC office in Helena (1701 Prospect Ave, Helena, 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.

 

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