Thursday, March 27, 2014

Charged up

Posted on Thu, Mar 27, 2014 at 4:00 AM

This month Montana lawmakers will continue working on an important study about the future of renewable energy in Montana. The Legislature’s Energy and Telecommunications Interim Committee has spent the last year analyzing the impact that our renewable energy standard has had on Montana’s economy, electricity bills and environment. As long as they play by the rules, they will discover what we already know to be true—renewable energy has been a good deal for Montana ratepayers.

Montana enacted a renewable energy standard in 2005, requiring public utilities to add new renewable energy sources into their electricity portfolio. Today, the utilities are on track to meet those benchmarks while acquiring energy that is actually cheaper than traditional fossil fuel sources.

The renewable energy standard is good policy because it reduces risk to ratepayers and lowers our electricity costs. In fact, new wind energy sources are one of the best deals for utilities. According to the Public Service Commission, wind energy from Judith Gap was significantly cheaper than sources from coal and even hydroelectric dams from 2009-11.

To the legislators studying the standard—help protect us from increasing electricity prices by developing more of Montana’s renewable resources, such as wind and solar. We all know that renewable energy has proven to be a good deal for Montana by diversifying our energy supply, creating new jobs across the state, cleaning up our air and boosting our tax base. Let’s do more in the coming years.

Ed Gulick

Billings

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