Montana has significantly increased its climate ambitions in recent years and has successfully integrated renewables into its electricity sector. In 2019, Steve Bullock, the former Democratic governor, signed an executive order to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. The Order established a council to develop a blueprint for the state to meet its goal of net-zero emissions for electricity loads by 2035 and economy-wide net-zero emissions by mid-century. Installed solar use is expected to increase from the current level of 69 MW to over 500 MW in the next five years, and hydroelectric power already makes up more than a third of the state’s power generation. However, coal is the largest source of generation in the state, accounting for 5 percent of the country’s total, and large volumes of natural gas from Canada are imported through Montana. In addition, Republican Governor Greg Gianforte took office in January and the state’s legislature is run by Republicans. Reliance on the fossil fuel industry–coupled with the state’s conservative-leaning politics–may limit climate ambition.


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