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New wind farms set to shake up state’s power grid: ‘How long before this type of news is the norm not the exception?’

With more wind farms being built and more coal plants retiring, the percentages continue to shift.

With more wind farms being built and more coal plants retiring, the percentages continue to shift.

Photo Credit: iStock

Wind energy is about to overtake coal as the leading power source generated in the state of Montana in a major environmental win for the state.

According to U.S. Energy Information Administration data, Montana’s remaining coal plants provided 1,631 megawatts (MW) of nameplate capacity (i.e., the maximum output of electricity a generator can produce) in October, compared to 1,479 MW from the state’s wind farms.

However, with two new wind farms set to come online, adding 311 MW of wind power, Big Sky Country will soon be producing more wind power than coal power. 

However, that does not mean that the state itself will be using more wind than coal. Much of Montana’s energy output is transmitted to utilities in Washington and Oregon, where there are major pushes to transition from dirty energy sources like oil and gas to clean, renewable energy sources like wind and solar.

In Montana in 2022, coal was still the dominant source of energy, generating 42% of the state’s total power. Wind only generated 15%, while hydropower came in at an impressive 38%. But with more wind farms being built and more coal plants retiring, the percentages continue to shift in a positive direction for both the state and our planet.

This year, a Montana judge sided with a group of teenagers who had sued the state for polluting the air and environment by burning dirty energy, writing that “Montana’s emissions and climate change have been proven to be a substantial factor in causing climate impacts to Montana’s environment and harm and injury.” 

It remains up to the state legislature, however, to decide what to do about that.

“Good for Montana. How long before this type of news is the norm not the exception. Maybe then people will start to accept that clean energy is best for everyone,” wrote one Electrek commenter, referring to the news about wind power overtaking coal power.

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