Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name


Department or School/College

Department of Geography

Committee Chair

Jeffrey Gritzner

Commitee Members

Ashley Preston, Tom Sullivan


biomass, case studies, geothermal, Montana, Renewable energy, small-scale hydropower, solar, technology, wind


University of Montana


Energy is a critical topic of debate today, and much interest has turned to renewable energy forms. The negative implications of fossil fuel use are outweighing their benefits, as the twenty-first century has seen environmental, economic, and social consequences unfold. Montana is in a unique position in that it has five forms of renewable energy for heating and electricity generation purposes. Solar, wind, small-scale hydro, biomass, and geothermal energies are available across the state. These energy forms have the potential to provide residences and businesses with heat and electricity year-round, using a seasonally complementary, integrated system. The current installation of renewable energy systems was investigated to show that Montanans have been able to develop infrastructure capable of providing energy in an efficient and sustainable manner. This also demonstrates that solar, wind, small-scale hydro, biomass, and geothermal energies should be regarded as viable forms of energy, rather than high-risk and experimental options. The technological innovation of renewable energy was also investigated. Research suggests that renewable energy technology is currently able to produce energy with higher efficiencies, and at a lower cost than ever before. Lastly, innovation in the research and development phase is poised to surpass present-day technology standards and shortcomings.



© Copyright 2009 Mandi Lee Corr