Policy Documents

The Economic Impact of Montana's Renewable Portfolio Standard

February 9, 2011

Montana's renewable power mandates will force state electricity consumers to pay an extra $225 million in 2015 versus baseline figures. In addition, the mandate will bring few environmental benefits, as it is unclear whether the use of renewable power sources such as wind and solar actually reduces overall greenhouse gas emissions. Wind and solar power require significant fossil fuel-based backup power to accommodate variability in the availability of wind and sunlight for power conversion. A recent study published by the Bentek energy market analytics company found wind power can actually increase pollution and greenhouse gas emissions because the constant ramping up and ramping down of fossil-fuel backup systems is less efficient than running them at a steady pace.