NorthWestern Energy

Spire Climbing and Fitness in Bozeman announced March 15, 2020 it would only allow members to use the facility, would no longer allow equipment rentals and limit yoga classes to eight people.
Rachel Cramer/Yellowstone Public Radio

From postponed concerts to virtual campaign events, businesses and politicians across Montana are changing plans after detections of multiple in-state cases of the novel coronavirus.

The power plant in the distance.
Kayla Desroches / Yellowstone Public Radio

BILLINGS, Mont. (The Billings Gazette) — A legal team representing customers of Montana's utilities says NorthWestern Energy's proposal to purchase a larger portion of a coal-fired power plant in southeastern Montana for $1 doesn't include an analysis showing the acquisition is in the public interest or will result in reasonable electricty charges.

A sign reading "NorthWestern Energy" in silver type against a tan woodgrain background.
Nora Saks / Montana Public Radio

The state’s largest utility has warned the public about the potential likelihood of an electricity blackout while talking about how it intends to build up its energy portfolio. 

As Yellowstone Public Radio News reports, a 2019 analysis shows the region could face potential shortages as coal-fired power plants retire in coming years, but doesn’t factor in new power projects likely to come online.

The stacks at the Colstrip coal-fired power plant emit white plumes against a blue sky
Kayla Desroches / Yellowstone Public Radio

A federal judge in Missoula has ruled a shareholder of the state’s largest utility cannot compel the company to consider his clean energy proposal at an upcoming annual meeting.

David J Laporte / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)


A third-party review of Montana’s largest electric utility says NorthWestern Energy failed to sufficiently factor renewable energy sources into how it could meet customer demand in the future.

State utility regulators have agreed with NorthWestern Energy’s request to block details on its new coal supply contract from becoming public — at least for the moment. This comes as Montana’s biggest utility moves to buy a larger share of the coal-fired power plant in Colstrip. 

John Hines stands in front of a podium and microphone against a blue screen that reads "Finding Good Workers"
Kayla Desroches / Yellowstone Public Radio


The state’s largest utility filed its intent to purchase an added share of the Colstrip coal-fired power plant in eastern Montana on Wednesday.

NorthWestern Energy filed paperwork with the Montana Public Service Commission Feb. 6 asking for approval to buy an added 25 percent share of Colstrip Unit 4 from Puget Sound energy for $1. 

A panel at the BBER Economic Outlook seminar in Bozeman discusses challenges and opportunities to attract more skilled labor, February 5, 2020.
Rachel Cramer / Yellowstone Public Radio

Many Montana companies are struggling to find suitable workers to fill job openings. Researchers and industry experts at a seminar in Bozeman Wednesday say there aren’t enough skilled applicants. But educators say they see opportunities in more apprenticeships.

A piece of coal
Alexander G / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Hearing sessions across Montana over the last month have given ratepayers of the state’s largest electric utility the chance to sound off on the company’s 20-year-plan for sourcing energy. While many people have lashed out against the fossil fuel heavy plan, a minority of supporters in Billings and Colstrip last week stepped up.

The power plant in the distance.
Kayla Desroches / Yellowstone Public Radio


Two of the Colstrip power plant’s four units ceased operation last week. Residents in Colstrip voiced shock and sadness Saturday about the long-planned but still surprising shutdowns.