Image of Judith Gap Wind Farm in central Montana, taken by David J. Laporte.

Yesterday, Environment Montana Research & Policy Center released the report Renewables on the Rise: A Decade of Progress toward a Clean Energy Future. It provides a state-by-state assessment of the growth of key technologies needed to power the nation with clean, renewable energy, including wind and solar power; energy efficiency, battery storage technology and electric car sales.

Despite some progress on clean energy, Montana is falling behind the rest of the nation. According to the report, over the last decade solar grew by 518% as compared to 4,334% nationally and wind grew by 430% as compared to a 659% increase nationally.

A variety of factors have contributed to rapid nationwide growth in each category since 2007, including smart policies, improved technologies and lower costs.

Here in Montana, we’re missing huge opportunities to create good paying jobs and protect our health and our environment. Recently, the Public Service Commission voted for contract terms that, according to a “hot mic” conversation caught by the Billings Gazette, appear to deliberately sabotage small scale solar projects.

The last decade has proven that clean energy technology can power American homes, business and industry. America is poised to dramatically accelerate its shift away from fossil fuels, and Montana can benefit if we enact smart policies. Going forward, we hope the PSC will embrace the clean energy future instead of attempting to stifle it.