Catch up on the news you missed last week with our weekly recap. Below are the top five articles that our readers found most engaging. Enjoy!
5. Interest in solar power soaring while utility seeks rate cut
GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) — Interest in solar power is soaring in Montana because of the state’s sunny skies and profit potential.
But NorthWestern Energy, the largest public utility in Montana, is seeking a sharp cut in rates set by the Public Service Commission, the Great Falls Tribune reported. That could curb some of the enthusiasm.
NorthWestern currently pays $66 per megawatt-hour for solar electricity and has requested that rate be dropped to $34. The utility argues that entering contracts with solar providers at the current rate will mean higher electricity bills for 360,000 Montana customers.
4. Gov. Dalrymple: North Dakota oil industry ‘solid’
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple says the state’s unprecedented oil boom is far from going bust.
Dalrymple told an audience of several hundred at the Williston Basin Petroleum Conference and Expo in Bismarck that the oil industry is “as solid as solid can be.”
State Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms says there are about 11,000 Bakken wells that have been drilled, and another 31,000 that are planned or permitted. Helms says a total of 65,000 wells are likely to come on line within the next 20 years.
3. Possibility of Indian burial site stalls Dakota Access pipeline
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The possibility of an American Indian burial site in northwest Iowa may require relocation of a crude oil pipeline route and delay the beginning of construction in Iowa, the only one of four states where work hasn’t begun.
The Dakota Access pipeline passes through the Big Sioux Wildlife Management area in Lyon County, traditional homeland for the Dakota Sioux where Standing Rock Sioux Tribal leaders say there is a burial site.
“The site has been identified by the tribe as of historical and cultural significance with associated burial activity,” said State Archaeologist John Doershuk.
2. Burgum’s business background promises prosperity for North Dakota
Doug Burgum’s commitment to community is moving statewide. The Fargo-based entrepreneur and philanthropist is running for North Dakota governor and promises to create an environment that’s welcoming to business.
One area he will focus on is the energy industry.
“Growing up, I was told we were going to run out of oil,” Burgum said. “There was an oil crisis shortly after I graduated high school. People were lined up at gas stations.”
1. Oil prices set for fourth-straight monthly gain
The price of oil is on track to set its longest run of monthly gains in five years. Futures were up Tuesday morning in New York, paving the way for a fourth-straight monthly advance.
Oil production has been disrupted in several different countries in recent months. Nigeria’s oil production is down 50 percent after a series of militant attacks. In Canada, wildfires ravaged the oil sands city of Fort McMurray, causing residents to evacuate and slowing oil production. Workers have since resumed production after the fire eased.