Click on the town names for examples of renewable energy projects.

Montana Green Power

Your Guide to Renewable Energy in Montana

Welcome to the Montana Green Power E-newsletter! This is a monthly feature of the Montana Green Power website. Visit the site for details about all the stories below, including links to "Solar Access" national and international news and other websites, plus lots of other useful information about renewable energy.


The task ahead of us is never as great as the power behind us. Ralph Waldo Emerson

If You Can Run on Grease and Alcohol, So Can Your Car!
Solar, Wind Projects Add 130 Kilowatts of New Capacity
Find Tips for Saving Energy in New DEQ Guidebook
Energy from the Sun - PV's in Montana Habitat Homes


Zero Energy Home Concept Introduced at Home Show
What's the Forecast for Solar Power in the United States?
Farmers Feel Winds of Change Renewing the Countryside
Security Experts Say Energy Efficiency Key to Security
Farms Aren't Just for Food Anymore
Utah Becomes 36th State to Offer Net Metering
In The Northwest: Wind Power More Realistic Than 'Exotic'


If You Can Run on Grease and Alcohol, So Can Your Car!
That intriguing prospect is explained on the home page
of the Associated Students of the University of Montana Transportation website. Visit the site for more information on ASUM's Bio-Bus, which runs on biodiesel, an alternative fuel that contains: 80-90% vegetable Oil; 10-20% Alcohol; and 0.35-1.5% Catalyst

Sustainable Systems LLC d/b/a Montana Biodiesel makes the fuel from waste vegetable oil (WVO) from fryers at the University Center and the Lommasson Center. The chemical reaction for making the fuel is called "transesterification." Montana Biodiesel combines the WVO with a sodium hydroxide and methanol mixture to produce methyl esters or biodiesel. It's a local business and all the fuel is made right there in Missoula. For more information, download the company profile: 

Sustainable Systems LLC d/b/a Montana Biodiesel (30KB PDF)

Solar, Wind Projects Add 130 Kilowatts of New Capacity
More Montanans will use the power of the sun and wind in 2002 to generate their own electricity through a pair of renewable energy projects funded by NorthWestern Energy customers. On April 26, twenty-one homeowners from Missoula to Lavina and Great Falls to Absarokee received word they were chosen to participate in either a solar electric or wind electric demonstration program administered by the National Center for Appropriate Technology on behalf of the utility. Of those, nine will receive solar electric (or photovoltaic) systems ranging in size from 1200 watts to 3900 watts. Thirteen others will get wind electric systems ranging in size from under 1 kilowatt (0.9kw) to 10 kilowatts.

Find Tips for Saving Energy in New DEQ Guidebook
Montanans have a choice of spending money to improve the energy efficiency of their homes or paying more for the energy they waste. This choice will become even more important as energy costs inevitably rise. The Montana Department of Environmental Quality has published Montana Energy Saver's Guidebook to help homeowners save money and energy right now. The booklet includes sections on knowing where your energy dollars go, setting back thermostats, sealing air leaks, adding insulation, replacing appliances, choosing efficient lighting and selecting a contractor. You can visit the DEQ website to download your own copy of the guidebook:

Montana Energy Saver's Guidebook (1.6MB PDF)

Energy from the Sun - PV's in Montana Habitat Homes
Habitat for Humanity of Southwest Montana, serving Butte and Southwest Montana, is the first Habitat for Humanity affiliate in the nation to send Habitat-generated power from photovoltaic (PV) energy into the grid, saving the Habitat family money while producing renewable energy to help meet future electrical demands for themselves and their neighbors. Habitat says its High Performance Housing Partnership the HP2 program has resulted in homes that use 40 to 50 percent less energy than homes built to current codes, with heating costs in Montana of under $250 a year. "These homes are the best candidates for use of solar-generated electric energy, to cover 50 to 100 percent of the electrical load experienced by very low income families," according to Habitat's website.

More On Habitat For Humanity
Habitat for Humanity International is a nonprofit, nondenominational Christian housing organization. Since 1976, Habitat has built more than 100,000 houses in more than 80 countries, including some 30,000 houses across the United States. Habitat houses are purchased by the homeowner families.


Zero Energy Home Concept Introduced at Home Show
The idea of a "Zero Energy Home" has been floating around the country for some time now, but it took the Washington State Net Metering Law, and some of the WesternSUN Utilities to start the ball rolling. Zero Energy Homes got their first introduction to the Northwest Public at the WesternSUN booth at the Seattle Home show.

What's the Forecast for Solar Power in the United States?
By Will McNamara
(Reprinted with permission of SCIENTECH)
SPECIAL NOTICE: The U.S. Senate defeated 54 to 46 an amendment
to open Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas exploration. Here's an IssueAlert analysis of the impact that this decision will have on the energy industry.
[News item from Associated Press] Hoping to reduce demand on California's energy system, officials have chosen Los Angeles as the city in which to place the nation's largest solar-panel system atop a government building. The low-maintenance solar panels were unveiled April 12 at the U.S. Postal Service processing plant 11 miles southwest of downtown Los Angeles.

The Postal Service's 127-kilowatt system, built and installed by PowerLight Corp. of Berkeley, is the size of a football field and believed to be the largest such structure ever placed on a federal building, officials said. It is expected to reduce energy consumption by 10 percent during peak hours. More ...

SCIENTECH provides a free analysis of each day's most critical issue in the energy industry. Register for a free IssueAlert at: 

Farmers Feel Winds of Change Renewing the Countryside
Minnesota Countryside
From one perspective, Richard and Roger Kas of Woodstock, Minn., are typical Midwestern farmers who grew up farming the family land with their father, William. But this family has something unmistakably unique taking place on their farm: they are farming the wind. With over 17 modern wind turbines on their land, they generate enough electricity to power 4300 households, and with two more turbines in the works, they are convinced they are riding the winds of change. What is more unique is that the Kas brothers will own these two new commercial-scale wind turbines. This is the first project of its kind in Minnesota, and possibly in the entire Midwest. More ... 

National Security Experts: Energy Efficiency Key to Energy, National Security
The Alliance to Save Energy has posted a letter to Senate and House leaders signed by former CIA director James Woolsey, Admiral Thomas Moorer (Ret), and President Reagan's National Security Advisor Robert McFarlane. The letter says, "Our dependence [on oil] takes us places and forces us to do things that are not always in American's national interests." They call for increased efficiency to promote national security. Read the letter on the Alliance to Save Energy website.

A net metering measure, HB 7, has passed both chambers in Utah Legislature on March 14 and was signed into law by Governor Mike Levitt on March 15. This law requires utilities to make a net metering program available to customers with fuel cells or solar, wind or small hydropower systems with a generating capacity of up to 25 kilowatts. The successful passage of the Utah net metering law leaves Colorado as the only state in the West that does not require its electrical utilities to offer a net-metering program. Thirty-six states nationwide have some form of net metering available to consumers today. More ...

In the Northwest: Wind Power More Realistic Than 'Exotic'
Friday, April 5, 2002
By Joel Connelly
Seattle Post-Intelligencer Columnist
WALLA WALLA - Nuclear plant builders at Hanford used to sniff with condescension at alternative energy sources, referring to solar and wind power as "exotics" - as if a solar panel or windmill were a half-clad Parisian dancer of the 1920s. More... 

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"To make an apple pie from scratch, we must first invent the universe." Carl Sagan

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