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Thursday, March 22, 2018

Photo courtesy of Caitlin Cromwell

Homegrown energy film tells stories of clean energy users

By Kyle Vuille

Ranger-Review Staff Writer

Northern Plains Resource Council in partnership with Dawson Resource Council hosted the Homegrown Energy Film Festival at Cross Country Brewing in Glendive on Jan. 23.

NPRC and DRC are member-based groups that focus on protecting water quality, family farms and ranches and a unique quality of life. Among the things NPRC encourages is sustainable and clean energy for Montanans.

The film shown at the brewery featured the stories of 15 Montanans and their journeys into using clean energy. Each segment of the film was submitted by the people themselves with NPRC compiling those features to create the film.

From solar energy run homes to massive stored energy sources like the pumped hydro storage in Gordon Butte, more Montanans are embracing clean energy, according to the film.

The majority of the stories depicted homes and ranches with solar energy, showing the audience how their energy meters were “zeroing” out. They expressed how their investments in solar energy have paid off.

Though the stories of clean energy were from all across the state, several Eastern Montanans and their experience with using clean energy sources were involved.

Wade Sikorski, who was in attendance at the event, was one of the people featured in the film. He talked about his 2,000 watt solar installation in his Baker garage.

Mark Fix, an Eastern Montana  rancher along the Tongue River, installed a solar-powered electric fence and stock water pump that would use solar energy to keep the water cold for his cattle.

“Installing a solar-powered electric fence and stock water pump close to 10 years ago were great decisions for my ranching operation,” Fix said. “They not only work better – they were also affordable.”

The final story from Eastern Montana included a couple who live outside of Miles City who were inspired by the  writer Amory B. Lovins  and the book he developed with the Rocky Mountain Institute called “Reinventing Fire: Bold Business Solutions for the New Energy Era.” After reading the novel, ‘Mike’ and his wife ‘Karen’ started looking into clean energy and installed a solar photovoltaic array this past summer.

The night ended with DRC member Dena Hoff thanking everyone who came to the event, noting how much the organization appreciates the community’s support.

Ben Reed, an energy developer and NPRC member, gave a statement about the organization’s intentions for making the film and their aspirations for Montanans.

“Rhetoric is one thing, but to see tangible examples of the ways Montanans are embracing clean energy – that’s powerful,” Reed said. “Clean energy is affordable, it’s helping people pay less on their utility bills, and it’s part of our energy future. The film festival was about letting those stories speak for themselves, and sharing the innovation and entrepreneurship happening all across Montana.”

Reach Kyle Vuille at

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