Bozeman Daily Chronicle guest column: Building on 10 years of renewable energy

Last month energy developers, construction contractors, agricultural producers, city and county officials, legislators, conservationists and more gathered to celebrate 10 years of Montana’s Renewable Portfolio Standard with Governor Bullock in Helena. The Renewable Portfolio Standard, or “RPS,” is the 2005 landmark legislation that launched renewable energy in Montana by requiring utilities to acquire 15 percent of their energy from new renewable energy resources like wind, solar, geothermal, and certain small hydro projects.

The standard has been a huge success. Both NorthWestern Energy and Montana Dakota Utilities are in compliance with the 15 percent renewable energy requirement, and multiple studies, including the Legislature’s own study, concluded that compliance has not increased costs to consumers. Since the passage of the RPS, wind energy development in the state has supported over 100 permanent jobs and more than 1,500 construction jobs at Montana wind farms, mostly in rural communities.

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