solar energy

Solar Energy Advocates Ask Feds To Reverse Price Suspension
(PD)

This week, Montana’s Environmental Information Center and solar energy advocates asked federal authorities to reverse a state regulator's decision earlier this year that advocates say is killing clean energy jobs.

Mountain Water Company.
Cherie Trusler

The private company that owns Missoula’s city water system got slapped with a financial penalty today.

Our Capitol reporter has details on that, as well as efforts to change how much renewable energy companies can charge customers. Reporter Corin Cates-Carney followed the action and joins us now to fill us in.

FLS Energy, Inc. has asked Montana’s Public Service Commission to re-hear an issue they voted on in June. That vote suspended the state’s current favorable rate for renewable energy companies. Many expect a new rate to be set much lower.
(PD)

A North Carolina solar energy company says it’s prepared to sue Montana if state utility regulators stick by their decision on how much they can charge for electricity.

Solar panel installation.
Wayne National Forest (CC-BY-2)

Montana’s utility regulators took unprecedented action Thursday when they suspended price rates for solar energy. It's a win for NorthWestern Energy, but it could slow growth in Montana’s solar energy industry.

Community Solar Project Opens In Ravalli County

May 26, 2016
Mark Grotbo, general manager of Ravalli Electric Co-op stands in front of the solar panels that now line the side of Highway 93 near Victor.
Bree Zender

Governor Steve Bullock was in Victor Thursday to help open a new private solar energy facility.

A stretch of solar panels now line the side of Highway 93 near Victor. The new facility, Valley Solar, is the third community solar energy project to open in Montana. Gov. Steve Bullock spoke at the ribbon cutting ceremony.

Former Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer
File photo (PD)

Former Governor Brian Schweitzer says Montana is well-positioned to help lead what he believes is the country's inevitable energy revolution.

"We're one of the 31 states that passed a [mandatory] renewable energy portfolio. Electricity that we're using in Montana, more than 15 percent of our portfolio is already from renewables."

Former Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer is bullish on the future of energy generation and distribution.

Schweitzer's written a new book titled "Power Up.energy" in which he asserts an energy revolution is underway in the United States. He says our dependence on foreign fossil fuels can and should be replaced within 20 years by natural gas, solar and advanced battery technologies.

Solar panel installation.
Wayne National Forest (CC-BY-2)

Fans of non-petroleum energy are having a “Clean Energy Fair” in Missoula’s Caras Park Saturday. Diana Maneta, the executive director of the Montana Renewable energy association says they’ll be unveiling a new initiative called Solarize Missoula.

Kevin and Marti Murphy and their children at their home in Colstrip.
Amy Martin

Kevin Murphy has worked at the Rosebud coal mine for 15 years, running a bulldozer which works in tandem with a dragline – a machine as big as a ship with a giant boom that extends 300 feet up into the air. The dragline perches on the lip of an open pit, scraping away hundreds of feet of rocky soil to reveal the black seam of compressed prehistoric peat that humans have been burning for fuel for millennia.

Development of solar energy is undergoing a renaissance as the price and downside of fossil fuels increases. Author, physics professor and solar energy expert John Perlin says the use of solar energy goes back thousands of years.