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Wind and Solar Advocates Praise Governor's New Energy Plan

Gov. Steve Bullock presents his Montana Energy Plan at the University of Montana in Missoula on Wednesday. (Office of the Governor)
Gov. Steve Bullock presents his Montana Energy Plan at the University of Montana in Missoula on Wednesday. (Office of the Governor)
June 23, 2016

MISSOULA, Mont. – Renewable energy advocates are praising Gov. Steve Bullock's new energy plan, which lays out a number of strategies to increase Montana's market for solar and wind projects.

The governor promoted his plan Wednesday at a panel discussion at the University of Montana in Missoula before 130 local leaders, clean energy advocates and students.

Diana Maneta, executive director of the Montana Renewable Energy Association, says the state's wind and solar resources still remain largely untapped but this plan is a big step in the right direction.

"Our wind resource is second best in the nation, but we're only 20th in terms of wind energy development,” he points out. “And while Montana's solar market is small today, the cost of solar power has dropped by half in the last five years. So the right policies will help us to seize this enormous clean energy potential."

The governor's plan calls for a doubling of solar power by 2025, and for the creation of a state energy infrastructure authority to facilitate more renewables.

It also directs state agencies to look at putting solar on their own buildings and begin scouting public property suitable for solar arrays.

Bullock also reaffirmed his commitment to defend the Renewable Portfolio Standard, which opponents have targeted in past legislative sessions.

"Hopefully going into this next legislative session folks will consider the renewable-energy portfolio standard and other things as opportunities, not things to roll back," he stated.

The plan also calls for a reduction in energy use by ten percent by 2025 through new energy efficiency measures.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - MT