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Montana Green Power

Your Guide to Renewable Energy in Montana

Energy Legislation

Energy bills passed by the 2001 Legislature and signed by Gov. Judy Martz 
Prepared by Montana Department of Environmental Quality.

Bill #



HB 12

Dick Haines 

Reauthorizes state building energy conservation bond program.

HB 474

Paul Sliter 

Allows Board of Investments to buy new generation or Qualifying Facilities, directs PSC to set rules for service by default supplier, guarantees default supplier recovery of all prudent costs, extends USBC to 2005, establishes a consumer electricity support program and a Montana power authority.

HB 573

Keith Bales 

Directs Oil and Gas Conservation Board to expedite issuance of permits for wells within 1 mile of permits issued by federal or Indian authority.

HB 643

Carol Juneau D-Browning

Tax exemptions for electricity generated on reservation, especially by wind.

HB 644

Jeff Pattison

Encourages economic development by creating an energy market demand in Montana for agricultural-based biofuels; taxes gasohol and biodiesel at a percentage of the rate for gasoline or special fuels; defines "gasohol" and "biodiesel"; and provides that biofuel pumps be labeled with a statement of the tax advantage of the fuel.

HB 645

Jeff Mangan 
D-Great Falls

Establishes a procedure for setting up a demand side exchange ("electrical pool") at below market buy-back rates.

HJ 44

Aubyn Curtiss 

Calls on FERC to stabilize prices and refrain from ordering power be shipped to California.

HB 600

Sylvia Bookout-Reinicke R-Alberton

Exempts non-commercial fossil fuel generation from taxation until 2004, if 80 percent or more is used by the business.

SB 19


Mike Halligan D-Missoula

Postpones all transition period dates by five years.

SB 56


Walter McNutt 

Allows large customers and utilities to count amortized or non-amortized expenditures towards Universal System Benefits Fund obligation.

SB 134

Ken Miller 

Reduces coal severance tax for sales to new in-state generation plants built after 2001 and before 2008 which agree to sell at least half their sales in state at a cost plus basis.

SB 269

Walter McNutt 

Delays transition to customer choice for Montana Dakota Utilities.

SB 319


Mack Cole 

Removes generation and most pipelines from the MFSA and shortens review periods for what remains.

SB 325

Dale Mahlum R-Missoula

Converts ENI property to Class 9, allows coops to continue to serve annexed areas, generally revises rural coop legislation, and clarifies authority for pole attachment regulation.

SB 387


Jon Ellingson D-Missoula

Gives customer-generators more flexibility in terms of their net metering arrangement.

SB 398

Ken Miller 

Establishes alternative permitting process for temporary generators of up to 125 MW.

SB 506

John Cobb 

Establishes an alternative energy loan program. Increases conservation credits. Increases and expands credits for alternative energy sources, especially for residential scale. Adds incentives for wind energy development on state lands. Makes alternative energy specifically eligible for various existing loan and grant programs.

SB 508

Mack Cole 

Drops property taxes for 5 or 10 years and substitutes a local impact fee, if a facility sells 50 percent of net capacity to Montanans at cost plus 12 percent.

SB 521

Steve Doherty 
D-Great Falls

Includes price as a condition causing an energy emergency and extends emergency duration to 90 days without recourse to legislature.

SJ 16

Ric Holden 

Urges the federal government to retain Pick-Sloan power for existing and new irrigation in Montana.

Unofficial Summary of Senate Bill 506
Sponsored by Sen. John Cobb (R-Augusta)

An act amending the laws relating to alternative energy and other energy systems; providing a revolving loan fund to finance alternative energy systems; providing that air quality non-compliance penalty fees be deposited in the revolving fund; eliminating business property taxes on certain generating equipment; providing a five-year abatement of business property taxes on small generating equipment; amending various tax and bonding incentive laws to encourage production of energy by using alternative renewable energy sources; allowing a conditional tax credit for wind energy produced on state land; and allowing an electricity buying cooperative to supply or promote alternative energy.

Section 1-3, 21, 22
Establishes an alternative energy revolving loan account, to issue low interest loans, up to $10,000 for 5 years. Aimed at residences and small businesses. The program will be run by DEQ.

Section 4
City or town councils may create special improvement districts for alternative energy production facilities.

Section 6
Generation using an alternative renewable energy source (as defined in 90-4-102) with a nameplate capacity of less than 1 MW is exempt from property taxes for 5 years after start of production.

Section 7
Facilities using alternative renewable energy sources (as defined in 90-4-102) to generate 1 MW or more are eligible for new or expanding industry property tax reductions. Property tax starts at 50 percent of applicable rate for the first five years, then rises to 100 percent by year 10.

Section 8
Facilities using alternative renewable energy source (as defined in 90-4-102) to generate electricity are eligible for the new or expanding energy tax credit, equal to 1 percent of the new wages paid in state during the first three years.

Section 10
Resident individual taxpayers get a tax credit of 25 percent of the taxpayer’s expenditure, up to $500, for conservation investments in "a building".

Section 11
Resident individual taxpayers who install a geothermal system in their "principal dwelling" is eligible for a tax credit up to $1,500.

Section 12
Resident individual taxpayers installing non-fossil forms of energy generation (as defined in 15-32-102) after 12-31-2001 in the taxpayer’s principal dwelling are entitled to an income tax credit equal to the cost of the system, up to $500. (This includes low emission wood stoves.)

Sections 13-14
Expands the 35 percent wind tax credit to all forms of alternative renewable energy sources (as defined in 90-4-102).

Section 15
Wind farms with leases on state lands that offer contracts of at least 5 years duration to sell at least 33 percent at cost of production plus 12 percent can claim full state wind tax credits even if they claim federal tax credits.

Section 16
Wind turbines on state lands making annual lease payments to the school trust fund are exempt from the wholesale energy transmission tax of $0.00015/kWh.

Section 17
Firms producing energy using alternative renewable energy sources (as defined in 90-4-102) are eligible for microbusiness loans and are not subject to business size limitation. Micro-business loans go up to $35,000.

Section 18
Firms producing energy using alternative renewable energy sources (as defined in 90-4-102) are eligible for Job Investment Act loans, which go up to $500,000.

Section 19
Firms producing energy using alternative renewable energy sources (as defined in 90-4-102) are specifically included under the Small Business Licensing Coordination Act, which reduces paperwork for the businesses.

Section 20
Cooperatives may be organized to serve as a supplier or promoter of alternative energy and conservation programs.

Section 23
Firms producing energy using alternative renewable energy sources (as defined in 90-4-102) are eligible for loans from the Montana Agricultural Loan Authority.

Section 24
"90-4-102. Definitions.
"Alternative renewable energy source" means a form of energy or matter, such as solar energy, wind energy, geothermal energy, conversion of biomass, fuel cells that do not require hydrocarbon fuel, small hydroelectric generators producing less than 1 megawatt, or methane from solid waste, that is capable of being converted into forms of energy useful to mankind, including electricity, and the technology necessary to make this conversion, when the source is not exhaustible in terms of this planet and when the source or the technology are not in general commercial use.

Section 25
Municipalities and counties can invest in projects producing energy using alternative renewable energy sources (as defined in 90-4-102) under the Industrial Development Projects Act. Local governments can issue bonds under that act.

Section 26
Projects producing energy using alternative renewable energy sources (as defined in 90-4-102) are deemed "qualified investments" under the Montana Capital Company Act, which deals with venture capital.

2001 Legislature
Energy and utility deregulation were hot topics at the 2001session of the Montana Legislature. The Montana Legislature website offers multiple pathways to information, including topical links, organizational links, and searches. Or look up bill information

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