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City council unanimously backs Missoula plan for 100% clean energy by 2030

Posted at 6:28 PM, Apr 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-09 20:28:50-04

MISSOULA – Missoula City Council members unanimously voted Monday to adopt a resolution to move the city’s electricity to 100 percent renewable sources by 2030.

There were mixed emotions in the public comment portion of Monday night’s vote on the resolution, but Missoula City Council members nevertheless chose become the first city in Montana to move away from fossil fuels.

This is a formal commitment to renewable electricity, community-wide in the next 10 years.

Many opposing the plan say they are being forced down a path with only one option. However, some council members argued it actually allows for more choices.

Missoula gets most of its electricity from Northwestern Energy, which is also developing a long-term plan for its energy portfolio.

“The majority of our power comes from Northwestern Energy, and right now Northwestern Energy is trying to get a bill through the legislation that would allow them to buy another 150 mega-watts of coal power,” said Ward 5 council member Stacie Anderson. “That is moving in the exact opposite of what this resolution is trying to address.”

Anderson was referring to Senate Bill 331, which would allow NorthWestern Energy to buy a share of Colstrip’s coal-fire unit 4 for $1, then pass on regulatory and cleanup costs to rate payers. The bill has passed the Senate and was heard in a House committee Monday.

Missoula has now become one of 117 cities across the country to establish the 100 percent clean, renewable energy plan.

Many Missoula businesses are also on board with the plan, including Log Jam Productions, Missoula Federal Credit Union and St. Patrick Hospital.

Story by Kent Luetzen, MTN News