Our Vision for a Clean Energy Future in Montana
We are Montanans of all types and stripes: workers, business owners, property owners, and home dwellers. We enjoy Montana’s great outdoors, love our neighbors, and want our community to thrive. We care passionately about our children and grandchildren, and we want to ensure we’ve provided a good life and future for them.
We want our communities to transition to clean energy sources such as energy efficiency, solar, and wind, and we want to do it now. We need to do it quickly to protect the places and people we love.
Issues We Work On
Our fossil fuel driven energy system has had debilitating effects on our ability to participate in the energy choices that affect our lives. Monopoly utilities have benefitted from a centralized energy system that produces profits and concentrates power with a handful of people. This concentration of power distorts the decisions being made about our energy future.
We want all Montanans to have access to clean, affordable energy. This is why we’ve fought and continue to fight for raising the 50KM cap on net metering, which would help to create distributed energy systems, and continue to look for legislative solutions to localize power.
Rural Electric Co-ops (RECs)
At Northern Plains, we’re working with energy customers all across the state to take back control over the energy decisions that impact our lives, whether you get your power from a rural electric cooperative, NorthWestern Energy, or Montana Dakota Utilities.
We are helping local rural electric co-ops change the compositions of their boards by encouraging people to run for board positions. We want RECs to accurately and fairly represent customers in range, and encourage local members to participate in the process to create a fair energy system.
Transitioning Away from Fossil Fuels
We have created a partnership with members working to stop oil and gas development to fight NorthWestern Energy’s Laurel Methane Plant, and encourage more implementation of clean energy. Together, we are holding NorthWestern accountable for pursuing destructive new fossil fuel development, and creating a “Zero By 50” plan that is both unattainable and too far in the future to be practical. Montanans need clean energy solutions now.
Learn more about our fight to stop the Laurel Methane Plant.
Making Clean Energy Affordable
We all know that renewable energy and energy efficiency upgrades save Montanans more money over the long-term than they cost. But affording the cost of these upgrades is still out of reach for many Montanans.
In 2021, we helped pass a C-PACE (Commercial Property Assessed Capital Enhancements) financing bill at the Montana legislature to help business and non-profits afford clean energy upgrades. We are now working to implement C-PACE programs in counties across Montana so that clean energy can be affordable and accessible to everyone.
Learn more about C-PACE Financing.
History and Accomplishments
- Passed C-PACE (Commercial Property Assessed Capital Enhancements) in 2021 after three legislative sessions.
- Brought the Solarize program to Montana to make it easier for residential homes to go solar.
- Helped advocate for the PSC to deny NorthWestern preapproval to build new energy infrastructure.
- Helped build the first LEED Platinum building in Montana, Northern Plains’ Home on the Range office in Billings.
- Hosted the first ever, Energy Summit in 2021. At this daylong, virtual event we envisioned what is possible for Montanan’s energy future, discussed challenges to achieving the clean, affordable, and just energy future we want to see, and heard from leading experts in the field about energy innovation.
- Hosted a Homegrown Energy Film Festival in 2018.
Our History Tells Us…
Northern Plains has always been focused on solutions. From the early years, clean, renewable energy has been one such solution to protect our communities. Watch to learn what “Our History Tells Us” about creating a clean energy future, and how this legacy continues today:
NorthWestern Energy is recklessly pushing forward a proposal to create a methane power plant in Laurel, Montana. This project creates financial risks for energy customers while threatening our health, air quality, and climate. Montanans deserve a fair, reliable, and sustainable source of power that protects the people and places we love. The time to act is now!
Solarize Central Montana is a campaign of Central Montana Resource Council. We are bringing together community members from Fergus and Judith Basin Counties to get more solar energy in Central Montana. Solarize Central Montana is working to select expert installers and gathering information you need to consider going solar on your home or business. The campaign will officially launch in February.