Montana needs fair access to renewable energy markets
Energy from a new Montana wind farm will cost less than NorthWestern's Colstrip coal energy. The state's wind power would be a hot commodity in the West if it were granted fair access to markets.
Earlier this month, NorthWestern Energy officially dedicated its new 40-megawatt wind farm, Spion Kop, near Great Falls. The wind farm is already exceeding expectations and NorthWestern Energy deemed it a “phenomenal” energy resource providing cheap, clean energy for thousands of Montana households.
Energy from the wind farm will cost approximately $54 per megawatt-hour, nearly $10 per megawatt-hour cheaper than NorthWestern’s Colstrip coal energy. Spion Kop also exemplifies Montana’s famously constant and energetic winds, exceeding the productivity of wind farms in other states.
Spion Kop’s success is a timely reminder of Montana’s ability to contribute to the nation’s clean energy needs. Montana could potentially supply thousands of megawatts of cost-effective, clean energy to the Pacific Northwest, California and the Southwest.
Today, Montana exports nearly half of all the electricity we produce. Most of our exported energy comes from coal plants. But coal’s contribution to the electric grid is facing new scrutiny as we are forced to confront climate change.