More jobs, cheaper electricity. That’s what Sen. Jon Tester has helped bring to Montana.
When leading the Montana Senate, Tester authored our Renewable Portfolio Standard.
It requires 15 percent of the electricity sold by private utilities to come from renewables by 2015.
Since Montana has 395 megawatts of wind generating capacity, it helped create many of the approximately 595 turbine construction and 39 permanent turbine maintenance jobs here.
What about cost? During the most recent two years the Public Service Commission has posted prices, power coming from Judith Gap has cost the same as power coming from Colstrip 4 even if you add in the production tax credit (PTC) for wind. Over those years the PTC averaged 2.15 cents/kWh. That’s essentially the same as the difference between the two-year averages of power costs from Colstrip 4 minus those from Judith Gap ($0.6849 - $0.47).
Thus for the same price, NorthWestern customers are getting electrons from Judith Gap that don’t create mercury or carbon dioxide to pollute our trout streams, or increase drought, floods, and wildfires that brown-out the big sky.
In 2015, when the 10-year PTC ceases for the Judith Gap project, power from there should be 2.15 cent/kWh cheaper than coal generated electrons.
So stop with the big-money Republican ads demagoguing radical environmentalists, Obama, Tester and the Environmental Protection Agency’s cleanup regulations for causing a loss of 35 Corette Plant jobs in 3 years. Clean, cheaper-energy jobs have replaced them at the Basin Creek Natural Gas Plant and wind farms around Montana.
Russell L. Doty