Northwestern Energy is bringing government and energy industry officials together in Missoula for the Clean and Affordable Energy Conference at the Holiday Inn, Downtown.

KGVO News caught up with keynote speaker Governor Steve Bullock following his address to the conference.

"We ultimately talked about our energy future," Bullock said. "It's in our hands, so we need to figure out ways to provide opportunities as we go forward, so that means good jobs in a diverse energy future. The one thing we know for sure is that the future is going to look different than it is today, and I think it's up to all of us to help chart that future."

On the issue of coal, Bullock said it's time to bring new technology to an old energy resource.

"Our energy future has got to be less carbon intensive," he said. "I've been up to Saskatchewan where they have enhanced oil recovery coming, with an existing coal plan where they're capturing the Co2 and using it to get oil out of the ground. We need to be looking at all the options, wind, solar, hydro, and coal will still make up over 30 percent of our energy portfolio."

Also at the conference was former Public Service Commissioner Gail Gutsche, who is again running for the office.

Gail Gutsche

"Clearly, we are in a transition in energy where we are moving off our legacy resources into more renewable energy," Gutsche said. "We're moving more towards wind and solar and geothermal, and of course, we're also moving towards more energy conservation, because the cheapest energy we have by far is the energy we never use, and we look at conservation in two ways. First, energy utilities can conserve and the individual consumer can also conserve energy, so that's the talk this morning."

The Conference continues in Missoula through Friday at the Holiday Inn, Downtown.