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Stakeholders convene to discuss renewable energy, carbon footprints

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EBS STAFF

BIG SKY – On Nov. 3 and 4, representatives from NorthWestern Energy met with representatives from various Big Sky organizations, the city of Missoula and Missoula County, Bozeman, and Helena at The Wilson Hotel Residence Inn Ballroom to begin talks on renewable energy, reducing community carbon footprints and the potential impacts of climate change on a ski town.

With the recent advent of Big Sky’s first-ever sustainability committee joining a global chorus for changes in thinking, technology and infrastructure, it’s only fitting the cohort met in Big Sky, and the representatives discussed ways to potentially work together in hitting select goals, such as making places in Montana net-zero energy by 2030.

Another hope is to facilitate a means, through tentative legislation similar to that enacted earlier this year in Utah, to allow utility providers like NorthWestern Energy to make leaps in renewable energy services without the consumer footing the bill for upgrades.

“Customers want increasingly renewable energy,” said Eric Austin, associate professor at Montana State University and the event facilitator. “We’re really excited by the possibility to make that happen here … We’re here thinking through what that looks like.”

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