Electricity and Natural Gas

NorthWestern Energy is a regional energy company serving electric and natural gas across western and central Montana, eastern South Dakota and several communities in Nebraska, while also proudly serving Yellowstone National Park.

Utility operations consist of regulated electric and natural gas distribution, transmission and energy supply. In addition, we are pursuing electric transmission and generation opportunities.

Energy goes through different stages from its origin until it gets to your home or business.  

Generation

A collage showing a wind turbine, hydro plant and solar array.

Generation

Natural Gas

Natural gas is mined from pockets underground. Most natural gas used by NorthWestern Energy comes from Wyoming or Canada. It is mined and pumped via pipeline to NorthWestern owned Gateway facilities.  The raw, odorless and colorless gas, is then cleaned up with particulates removed and mercaptan is added to give natural gas the rotten stinky egg smell. 

Electricity

NorthWestern generates power using hydroelectric dam facilities, wind turbines, solar panels, natural gas generators, and coal powered generators. If NorthWestern does not generate enough to meet needs, then electricity must be bought on the market. It is difficult to store generated electricity for use later, although we have pilot programs involving battery storage.

Planning our Clean Energy Future

Long-term resource planning helps deliver affordable and reliable energy into the future.

Transmission

Crews work on the 500kv transmission lines.

Transmission

Natural gas 

A series of underground pipes carry purchased gas to storage fields. Then, smaller pipes carry the prepared gas to gateway stations in each community. From there, it is distributed to homes and businesses. 

Learn more about natural gas transmission and storage

Electricity 

As power is generated large cables carry the raw power from the point of generation or purchase. They transmit on special poles and lines made to carry large quantities of electricity. The power is carried to sub stations in each community. From there it is distributed to homes and businesses. 

Learn more about electric transmission

Distribution

A gas meter is inspected for leaks.

Distribution

Natural Gas

Smaller diameter pipes carry gas away from gate stations. These distribution pipes then carry the gas down streets and right up to the meter in your home. 

Electricity 

The power poles and lines you see in your alley are distribution lines. The power is reduced repeatedly until it can go into your home. NorthWestern Energy is responsible for the distribution up to your meter.

End Use

An Electric Vehicle charges outside the Bozeman NorthWestern Energy office.

End Use

Natural gas

From hot showers to stove-top meals, many people choose natural gas a way to control spending. 

Electricity 

Charging your phone, cooking, lights and charging car are just a few examples of ways electricity is vital in your home.