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Helena leaders to consider "clean electricity" goal for 2030

Posted at 10:14 AM, Feb 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-22 12:14:47-05

HELENA — The Helena City Commission will consider a resolution next week to set a goal for the community to switch to “100% clean, renewable electricity” by 2030.

Commissioners were presented with a first draft of the resolution at an administrative meeting earlier this month. They suggested some changes and agreed to bring the revised resolution forward at Monday’s regular commission meeting.

The proposed resolution says leaders need to act “swiftly and decisively” to address impacts from climate change and that setting a clean energy goal would be an important step.

Sue Kronenberger, who has been part of a group advocating for a clean energy resolution in Helena, says she became interested in the idea after attending a Global Climate Strike rally last fall.

“This resolution will collectively focus our energy so that actions can be taken that are going to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve our sustainability,” she said.

The plan notes Helena currently gets about 39% of its electricity from fossil fuels.

It lays out some possible steps that city leaders could take to move toward the clean energy goal – including improving energy efficiency and installing renewable energy resources at city-owned properties and expanding a loan program to encourage homeowners to make energy improvements.

However, the resolution also says leaders will have to work with utilities like NorthWestern Energy to encourage them to add more renewable energy to their portfolios.

Supporters of the proposal said joining other cities that have announced clean energy commitments will strengthen Helena’s voice in those discussions.

“It strengthens our power to move things forward, to say, ‘Yes, this is what the residents of these cities want and need,” said Kronenberger.

The Missoula City Council approved a 100% clean energy resolution last year.

During the Feb. 5 administrative meeting, Helena leaders said both cities have already been talking to NorthWestern Energy about future energy solutions.

Click here to view the full text of the resolution.