The Missoula City Council has unanimously voted to adopt a resolution that moves the city’s electricity to 100% clean, renewable sources by 2030. Missoula becomes the first city in Montana, a state whose energy mix is 49% from coal, to adopt the goal. Last week, Missoula County adopted the same 100% renewable commitment for the urban area of the county.
“The Montana Chapter of the Sierra Club is committed to continue working with the community and city and county leadership to implement this transition and ensure clean electricity is affordable and accessible to everyone,” said Summer Nelson, Director of the Sierra Club Montana Chapter. “We are so grateful to all the community members and partners who laid the foundation for this resolution to be considered and passed, and those who are ready to do the hard work of implementing this commitment.”
The city’s resolution establishes a formal commitment to renewable electricity community-wide, supported by an Electricity Options Report developed by Climate Smart Missoula, along with the city and county.
The report highlights pathways to 100%, providing guidance for implementation of the clean electricity goal. Several dozen organizations and businesses, including the Missoula Food Bank and Logjam Productions, added their names to a sign-on letter in support. Others, including the Missoula Federal Credit Union, American Lung Association, and Providence St. Patrick’s Hospital, wrote their own letters of support. Climate Smart Missoula, 350 Montana, Environment Montana, Forward Montana Foundation, Montana Sierra Club, and several more concerned citizens all partnered in the effort to bring this resolution forward.
Missoula gets most of its electricity from NorthWestern Energy, which is in the midst of revising a long-range plan for how it will produce energy in the coming years. The utility has previously proposed spending up to $1.3 billion on new fracked gas plants in the coming years that could be just as bad as coal for climate when methane leaks are taken into account. The company is taking public comment on their draft plan until May 5.
Another Mountain West city — Boise, ID — adopted a 100% renewable electricity goal last week, becoming the first city in the Gem State with the goal. Across the U.S., 117 cities have established bold 100% clean, renewable energy goals, with Missoula marking the 117th. Missoula Mayor John Engen had also previously signed on to the Sierra Club Ready for 100 campaign’s Mayors for 100 Percent Clean Energy initiative.
Missoula City Council President, Bryan von Lossberg, commented the resolution promotes customer choice regarding the type of electricity used. The resolution should result in economic benefits as well; Boise expects its transition will provide $610 million in benefits to their community.
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