In 2004 there was not a single megawatt of wind power being generated in Montana, despite the fact that Montana is one of the windiest places in America. Neighboring states like Wyoming and the Dakotas had growing wind industries, but Montana, with dopes like Judy Martz and a 25-year entrenched Republican legislature, couldn’t be bothered to try to make an effort to help create this industry in our state.
Schweitzer and the Dems come in and put together a legislative package to bring wind production and transmission, with tax incentives and a renewable energy energy portfolio which requires utilities to use wind power if it is available. And the Governor lures some investment to the state by marketing opportunities to develop energy projects and sell power to places like California where demand for clean power is virtually unlimited. The result? We now have three to four hundred megawatts of wind power being generated and another several hundred about to go online in the next year, as well as transmission projects some of which are already under construction, creating a backbone for additional wind-farms and other electricity projects.
And what does the Right Wing do to help this effort, now that it has taken over the legislature? Monday, the legislature heard two bills introduced by a right wing nut from Kalispell (representing, oddly, a liberal district–Whitefish). Derek Skees proposed to bills that would together dismantle Schweitzer’s renewable energy incentives. (And increase taxes, did he forget what the T in T.E.A. stands for already?)
That makes great sense.