Resilient Butte program sees potential for green energy in mining town

May 11, 2022

Montana Economy

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BUTTE – The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) is partnering with Montana Tech and Butte-Silver Bow County to bring renewable energy ideas and solutions to the impacts of climate change.

“We’re going to work with experts across the country who know climate trends and climate projections to say what issues Butte is facing? So we can be tough on Butte going forward,” said NCAT Director Steve Thompson.

The Resilient Butte program creates a plan to stimulate local business development, develop green energy, and protect the community and its natural resources from the impacts of climate change. This includes health and environmental issues such as drought, forest fires and rising temperatures.

“A lot more wildfire smoke, most summers we get more wildfire smoke. It’s a health concern for particularly vulnerable people,” Thompson said.

The plan also involves investing in new clean energy sources such as solar, energy storage systems or green hydrogen industries.

“One of the opportunities we have in Butte is to put solar panels on the mining lands and that would be really cool, and it’s such an interesting and specific project for Butte,” said Resilient Butte coordinator Rylie Yaeger. .

Some city officials see it as preparing Butte for a new economy.

“How do we adapt as a community to future energy, power, water needs, whatever it is, we have to come up with a plan for that,” Butte general manager JP Gallagher said.

The group is soliciting community feedback with a poll on the Resilient Butte website.