New Montana PSC Commissioners Scapegoat Wind for Higher Electricity Costs, but Coal is Costlier

Date: 3 Dec 2010 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

You can’t make this stuff up. 

Montana’s two newly elected Public Service Commissioners put out numbers, during their campaigns, purporting to show that electricity from renewable energy sources – specifically, wind – is more expensive than electricity from fossil fuels like coal.

Problem is, the truth is the exact opposite.  And these two people now regulate the electricity industry in Montana.  Kudos to citizen Ben Brouwer of AERO and the Billings News for getting to the truth:

Here are the comparative wholesale prices for electricity that [the state’s largest private utility] NorthWestern Energy [NWE] acquires from different sources:

• Colstrip Unit 4 (coal): $56.05 per megawatt hour (MWh)

• PPL (mix of coal & hydro): $48.75 per MWh

• Judith Gap (wind): $29.25 per MWh, plus $8-13 per MWh for “integration” costs

• Energy Efficiency: $4.80 per MWh

Turns out the most expensive power acquisition for NWE is coal, with wind and energy efficiency being the least costly.

John Farrell
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John Farrell

John Farrell directs the Energy Democracy initiative at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and he develops tools that allow communities to take charge of their energy future, and pursue the maximum economic benefits of the transition to 100% renewable power.

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