Helena Becomes Second Montana City Committed to 100% Clean, Renewable Electricity

The state capital joins growing number of Montana cities in demanding transition from fossil fuels

Melissa Hornbein, Helena Ready for 100, hornbein@gmail.com, 406-471-3173

Summer Nelson, Montana Chapter Director of the Sierra Club, summer.nelson@sierraclub.org, 406-544-4948

Caleb Heeringa, Sierra Club, caleb.heeringa@sierraclub.org, 425-890-9744

HELENA, MT -- Today, the Helena City Commission unanimously passed a resolution establishing a community-wide goal of 100% clean, renewable electricity by 2030. Helena joins Missoula as the second city in Montana to set this goal.

Helena community members launched the Helena Ready for 100 campaign as part of the Global Climate Strike last September. The resolution was brought to the City Commission by a group of Helena citizens. Prior to the commission vote, the group conducted a series of community engagement meetings to solicit input from city residents, businesses, and organizations. 

The resolution builds on other climate measures taken by the city, including the creation of the Climate Change Task Force in 2007, statement of support for the Paris Climate Agreement, and the creation of a Citizens’ Conservation board in 2017. The resolution also commits to assuring that benefits are equitably available to marginalized groups or populations in the Helena community, including low-income populations, Native peoples, and people of color.

The resolution demonstrates to NorthWestern Energy, which provides electricity to Helena, that its customers want more clean energy, not continued reliance on fossil fuels like coal or fracked gas. By establishing a 100% clean energy goal, Helena residents call on the utility to provide cleaner, cheaper renewable energy for its customers as well as reconsider its long term energy supply plan and the impacts clean energy would have on Montana ratepayers.

The goal of transitioning to 100% renewable sources of electricity, like wind and solar, has received broad support across the Helena community. Over 42 local businesses and organizations have signed a petition to pass the resolution, including: Helena Citizen Conservation Advisory Board, Family Outreach Inc, The Montana Chapter of the American Lung Association, Blackfoot River Brewing Company, Sierra Club, and the Holter Museum, among other local business and organizations, have signed on in support of the Resolution.

In response to the Commission’s vote, Helena Mayor Wilmot Collins responded:

"Today we fulfilled a responsibility to our present community and its future generations. We made long-term commitment to put the health and wellbeing of Helena and its citizens at the forefront of our decisions about how we grow into the future and how we meet our community's energy needs. This is the first step, and I look forward to the journey."

Jack Isbell, owner of Solar Montana, a Helena-based solar installer, said:

"Helena and its City Commission exhibited true leadership today. The City has put itself on the map as a leader in the fight against climate change and a pathfinder in Montana for the growing industry of renewable energy. The health of our community and our economy will only benefit from this decision."

Melissa Hornbein, a volunteer with Mom’s Clean Air Force and a member of the Helena Ready for 100 group, said:

“The City Commission has demonstrated true leadership and a commitment to preserving the health of our community, our economy, and our Montana way of life. Cities are filling the void in climate action in the absence of state or federal leadership. Helena, Missoula, and other communities are ready for clean air and water, lower electricity bills, and a local clean energy economy -- and this movement is showing no signs of slowing.”

Joel Harris, chair of the Helena-based community group Sleeping Giant Citizens Council, said:

"Members of Sleeping Giant Citizens Council believe that everyday people should have a say in the energy decisions that impact us. This community-wide 100% renewable electricity resolution is, therefore, something we whole-heartedly support. Since 2009, our members have worked hard to make Helena a leader in clean energy solutions and we are excited for this opportunity to set a concrete goal at a community level that commits us to finding solutions together.”

About the Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3.5 million members and supporters. In addition to protecting every person's right to get outdoors and access the healing power of nature, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit www.sierraclub.org.