Friday, December 08, 2023

Use your vote to support renewable energy in Montana

by Kris Newgard of Troy
| September 25, 2020 7:00 AM

To the editor:

Montana has abundant sunshine and plenty of wind, but we have barely left the starting blocks in development of those resources. One reason: Montana’s Public Service Commission (PSC) has followed the lead of our state’s largest monopoly utility, NorthWestern Energy, in discouraging the development of renewable energy.

The PSC was established to ensure that ratepayers have access — for the long term — to utility services that are affordable, reliable and sustainable. It should not be impeding our economy and our future.

On Aug. 24, Montana’s Supreme Court ruled that the PSC illegally discriminated against renewable-energy development when it arbitrarily cut rates paid to small solar developers. One of those developers was represented in court by Monica Tranel, who has many years of experience in appearing before the commission. Now she is running for the seat on the commission for District 4, which includes Lincoln County.

Monica is a ranch kid from eastern Montana. She went to Gonzaga University School of Law and has two decades of experience as a public-affairs-oriented attorney. She has represented the Montana Consumer Council and, in private practice, several clients seeking to expand renewable-energy development in rural Montana.

Monica has seen close up how the commission has failed to encourage the development of clean, renewable energy and has chosen instead to stifle wind and solar development. She understands the industries that the PSC regulates, and she knows that Montanans will be best protected in the long term by the development of our significant renewable-energy resources.

When she first learned about her recent win at the state’s Supreme Court, Monica made this comment: “During times of increased uncertainty, we need a predictable environment to ensure businesses, our economy, and our communities can thrive. This ruling is a significant advancement for the renewable energy industry in Montana, allowing more projects to be built that will bolster our local and state economy.”

Please join me in voting for Monica Tranel for the PSC.

Kris Newgard