Resilient Butte program sees green energy potential in the Mining City

Posted at 4:58 PM, May 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-12 10:32:58-04

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

“We’re going to be working with some experts from around the country who are familiar with climate trends and climate projections to say, what are the issues facing Butte? So, we can be Butte tough into the future,” said Steve Thompson, head of NCAT.

The Resilient Butte program is creating a plan to boost local business development, grow green energy and protect the community and its natural resources from impacts of climate change. This includes health and environmental issues such as drought, wildfires, and increasing temperatures.

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

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

“One of the opportunities we have in Butte is putting solar panels on mine 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 this as preparing Butte for a new economy.

“How are we as a community adapting to the future needs for energy, for power, for water, whatever it is, we need to be building a plan for that,” said Butte Chief Executive J.P. Gallagher.

The group is seeking input from the community with a survey on the Resilient Butte website.