News, Articles & Events

Bright Magazine

Bright Magazine showcases our sustainability efforts and the exciting work going on at NorthWestern Energy. Subscribe or read online.

Bob Glanzer Generating Station

Our new Bob Glanzer Generating Station is helping us move toward our clean energy future.

Providing reliable energy to customers 24/7

Date: Mar 5, 2024

TYPE: News

graph of Montana electric generation

NorthWestern Energy (NorthWestern) is committed to providing their customers reliable energy 24 hours a day, seven days a week. NorthWestern manages a balanced energy mix that keeps the lights on, no matter the weather.

Download a PDF here

Approximately 58% of NorthWestern’s owned and contracted energy supply is carbon-free, markedly better than the national average of 40% in 2022 ( table 7.2b). Since 2011, NorthWestern has added 954 megawatts of owned and long-term contracted energy resources to its Montana generation portfolio, all of which are carbon free (wind, hydro or solar).

When the wind isn’t blowing, or the sun isn’t shining, NorthWestern must have energy generation options to provide power to customers. We all know how brutal cold snaps can be during our winters and how quickly temperatures soar during the summer; extreme temperatures put additional stress on the energy system, at times, demanding more than NorthWestern can supply with its owned and contracted sources. When the need for energy is higher than NorthWestern’s capacity to supply it, they buy energy from the market to keep customers connected.

NorthWestern is committed to achieving net zero emissions by 2050, and they have worked to increase carbon-free generation options. At this point, long-duration storage technologies are not cost-effective. As the industry works to find solutions, NorthWestern is investing in resources to provide customers with reliable energy.

For example, the Yellowstone County Generating Station is designed to provide energy at peak times to support the intermittent nature of renewable energy. The plant, estimated to be complete in 2024, will bring an additional 175-megawatts of on-demand power generation through natural gas. To bring this level of capacity with alternative resources would cost anywhere from two to 24 times more. Located in Montana, this plant bridges a critical gap in on-demand power sources and is dedicated to serving NorthWestern’s Montana customers.

NorthWestern is committed to balancing affordability, reliability and sustainability with the resources available. They will continue to work to support cleaner energy generation, while remaining uncompromising on reliability and affordability for customers. You can read more about NorthWestern’s energy generation and net zero plan by scanning this QR code.