Electricity and Natural Gas
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
From hot showers to stove-top meals, many people choose natural gas a way to control spending.
Charging your phone, cooking, lights and charging car are just a few examples of ways electricity is vital in your home.