Montana Wind Power Now Cheaper than Coal

From the Public News Service:

Energy Awareness Month: MT Wind Now Cheaper than Coal

HELENA, Mont. – October has been designated “Energy Awareness Month” by presidential proclamation and a new energy fact being touted in Montana is that wind power purchased to meet the state’s renewable energy standard is now cheaper than the traditional mix of coal and hydro.

Ben Brouwer, renewable energy and conservation program manager with Alternative Energy Resources Organization (AERO) in Helena says wind power prices have also been more stable, although he doesn’t think that news is common knowledge yet.

“Right now, there’s a misconception floating around that renewable energy is high-cost energy, and that just really isn’t true.”

Wind power costs were about a third less than coal and hydro over the past year, according to filings by NorthWestern Energy.

Peggy Beltrone with Exergy Integrated Systems, a wind power developer, says Montana is still sitting on huge potential for more wind turbines and other renewables, such as solar and biomass. She wants local companies and the state to get going on development…or she warns that out-of-state or foreign companies are going to scoop up the opportunities.

“These sources are going to be developed. I’m a Montanan. I want to see those benefits in our communities.”

Montana passed a renewable energy standard in 2005, which requires the state’s two investor-owned utilities to get 15 percent of their total electricity sales from renewable resources by 2015.

Copyright © 2010 Public News Service

Kristin Tracz

About Kristin Tracz

Kristin Tracz served MACED’s Research and Policy team from 2009-2012 working on clean energy policy, energy efficiency programs and the Appalachian Transition Initiative. She joined MACED after finishing her Master of Environmental Management degree at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. She now lives and works in Washington, DC.