Helena, Mont., June 21, 2016 —Governor Steve Bullock announced a new blueprint for Montana’s energy future today that recognizes the value of expanding wind energy and a stronger electricity grid. The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) hailed the Governor’s plan:
“Governor Bullock’s energy blueprint provides the framework for Montana to develop its world class wind resource and capture a significant portion of the region’s rapidly expanding markets for wind power,” said Tom Darin, Senior Director for Western State Policy, AWEA. “The Governor’s plan has the right focus on specific state actions and transmission upgrades to expand Montana’s historically strong export economy and significantly increase wind energy as part of Montana’s diverse energy portfolio. This combination will enable Montana to realize substantial economic development and consumer savings benefits from new wind projects.”
The Governor’s energy blueprint advocates for the expansion of transmission infrastructure, long distance power lines, needed to move Montana’s electricity to strong and growing markets for renewable energy. States like California and Oregon have recently expanded their Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS), calling for half of the states’ energy to be renewable, and a growing number of Fortune 500 companies are seeking low-cost clean energy options.
Montana’s wind turbines, totaling 665 megawatts (MW) of capacity, produce enough electricity to power nearly 180,000 average homes; but the state’s current wind energy capacity barely scratches the surface of what’s possible. According to U.S. Department of Energy analysis, Montana wind resources have the vast potential to power 6.4 million average homes by 2030.
Wind energy’s costs have fallen by two-thirds in the last six years, making wind an attractive export for the state, as well as creating savings for homes and businesses in Montana. The Wind Energy Foundation reports that growing wind energy in Montana could deliver $677 million in electricity bill savings.
Gov. Bullock’s new plan also emphasizes continued support for Montana’s RPS. The RPS can help the state reach its wind energy reach potential while creating significant economic and environmental benefits.