States Surrounding Montana Are Eating Our Lunch When It Comes to Generating Renewable Energy Jobs.
Montana has a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) requiring 15% of the electricity supplied by investor-owned utilities must come from renewable energy generating sources. It does not reach the 80% renewable by 2050 or sooner goal climate scientists say we must reach in order to limit global warming. Hence the need for this initiative to reach that goal in an orderly fashion. In addition to reaching that 80% goal by 2035, the Initiative also guarantees Montana jobs by insuring that the percentage of green electrons required for electricity from Montana to be sold in surrounding states meets the evolving Renewable Portfolio Standards in those states which are:
- California’s RPS is 33% by 2020 & 50% by 2030.
- California—which burns little coal within its borders—reduced the amount of coal-fired electricity that it imports from other states by 18 percent from 2007 to 2012, 
- By installing rooftop solar, LA plans to be coal-free by 2025.
- Colorado’s RPS is 20% or 30% by 2020 depending on whether the utility is a co-op or investor owned,
- New Mexico’s RPS is 20% by 2020,
- Nevada’s RPS is 25% by 2025,
- The state utility of Nevada plans to be coal-free by 2025.
- Oregon’s RPS is 50% by 2040 for its largest utilities (less for smaller utilities),
- In Kansas the RPS is 20% of peak demand capacity by 2020,
- In Minnesota the RPS is 31.5% by 2020 for Xcel Energy (25% to 26.5% by 2025 for other utilities). State was 25% by 2018– 7 years ahead of schedule,
- Link to Renewable Portfolio Standard Map FEB 2017
- Utah has a goal of 20% by 2025,
- Texas exceeded its 5880 MW by 2015 RPS by installing 14,208 MW of wind electric generation as of March 2015 (9% of its consumed electricity). By March 2016, more than 20 percent of the 80,000 MW of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) capacity came from wind. Those Texas wind turbines accounted for more than 45% of ERCOT’s overall load on February 18, 2016. And Texas is adding 5,000 MW of wind power. http://fuelfix.com/blog/2016/02/19/texas-wind-power-set-a-new-record-late-thursday/
- By way of comparison, Montana had about 2,536 MW of coal-fired generating capacity (7 facilities) in 2006 before the 173 MW Corette plant in Billings was shuttered in the spring of 2015,
- In 2014, wind turbines already provided about 28.5% of Iowa’s electricity.
- The American Wind Energy Association projects that Iowa could meet 41 percent of its energy needs from wind power by 2020 and supply enough power to more than match its energy usage by 2030, with excess energy to export to other states. 
- MidAmerican Energy, will provide 752,000 Iowan customers with 95% green electrons by 2020 with no rate increase and no need to build natural gas facilities to back and firm the wind–meaning Montana businesses will have to match Iowa’s percentage of no-fuel-cost energy in order to compete.
- Oklahoma exceeded its 15% by 2015 RPS by producing 16.87% of its 2014 electricity from the wind.
- While North and South Dakota have 10% by 2015 RPS standards, both states have exceeded their RPS:
- North Dakota (1,886 MW of wind generating capacity producing 17.58% of in-state generated electricity), and
- South Dakota (803 MW of wind generating capacity producing 25.29% of in-state generated electricity),
- Idaho has no RPS but has 973 MW of wind generating capacity producing 18.31% of in-state generated electricity,
- In the remaining states, wind electric generating capacity installed as of March 2015 equals:
- 1,410 MW in Wyoming, and
- 812 MW in Nebraska, exceeded that of Montana (665 MW),
- The two western states not yet discussed are:
- Washington (15% by 2020 – with 3,075 MW of wind installed WA is 6.3% to its RPS),  and
- Arizona (15% by 2025) which will get most of its renewable power by expanding from the 2,069 MW of solar power now installed there. The following map shows states that include solar in their RPS requirements:
The five states surrounding Montana have an edge over Montana because they are closer to major energy markets and lead Montana in renewable generating capacity .
Wind is anticipated to save consumers $280 billion in avoided natural gas costs by 2050.
Page partially updated 9/9/19