Environment Montana, based in Missoula, released a report on Wednesday claiming that Montana is lagging behind adjacent western states when it comes to solar and wind energy production.

Skye Borden with the Environment Montana Research and Policy Center referred to a recently released report called ‘Renewables on the Rise’.

“Despite the fact that Montana has vastly increased its renewable energy production since 2008, the bad news is, we’re way behind our neighboring states as of today,” said Borden. “The problem is our neighbors are pretty much eating our lunch and everybody else is growing a lot faster. For example, where solar grew thirteen time more nationwide, Montana only grew three times. With wind Montana grew five times. We’re in a really wind-rich area with lots of opportunities for wind generation. North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming and Idaho have all experience huge amounts of growth in that same time period, and it has caused them to really leapfrog over Montana in wind generation.”

Borden also noted the controversy over Colstrip with the difficulty of moving Montana coal to the west coast for shipping to Asia, saying renewable energy could be an answer for the community.

“There’s a multi stakeholder process called the BPA report,” she said. “Basically, it said that without any major changes to the transmission lines we could add renewables like wind energy to that system, and it could be ready to go with very few alterations.”

Borden claims that wind could eventually be part of the answer for Colstrip.