Montana energy policy needs to look forward

By Ron Cooper, Independent Record. 

Montana should continue its forward progress on renewable energy by diversifying its economy with the growing clean-tech sector. Unfortunately the Legislature passed Senate Bill 114 in a closely divided vote last week that takes a backwards-looking approach to energy in Montana.

In 2005, Montana adopted a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) requiring that electric utilities get 15 percent of their energy from renewable sources. It’s a smart, forward-looking energy policy that is working well to deliver the benefits of renewable energy, including saving consumers money by reducing their exposure to fuel price volatility.

SB114 would reverse course and count hydroelectric power built long before the RPS became law in 2005 towards the state’s renewable energy goal.