Montana Public Radio

Colstrip Power Plant

Colstrip Co-Owner Offers $4.5M To Help Town Move From Coal

May 17, 2018
Power plant at Colstrip, MT.
Beth Saboe / MontanaPBS

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — One of the six owners of the Colstrip power plant is offering $4.5 million in transition funding to the Colstrip community in anticipation of the coal-fired plant shutting down.

Governor Steve Bullock and Attorney General Tim Fox will convene the first meeting Monday of the advisory group formed to address the impact of the closure of two coal-fired power plants in Colstrip.  This panel will help guide the disbursement of $10 million of economic impact funds provided by the owners of the Colstrip Generating Facility.


A Coal Mine in the Powder River basin.
U.S. Geological Survey

We're getting perspective now on last week's news that the U.S. Interior Department said it had approved a major coal mine expansion in Montana. It caused the stock of the mining company involved to temporarily spike.

Six days later, Interior rescinded its statement, saying no expansion was approved, and the original approval statement was the result of “internal miscommunication.”

Power plant at Colstrip, MT.
Beth Saboe / MontanaPBS

Governor Steve Bullock and Attorney General Tim Fox announced Thursday they’re creating an advisory group for Colstrip to help the area develop an economic impact plan.

Wind turbines.
(PD)

Energy developers and utility companies met in the state Capitol Friday to discuss Montana’s energy future. As the energy market changes, and some lawmakers and customers demand less carbon emitting power, energy companies are looking at how renewable energy will grow in Montana.

More than a dozen major energy market players from around Montana and the West sat at a table in Helena Friday to explore the potential of renewable resources.

Sen. Duane Ankney (R) - Colstrip.
Mike Albans / Montana Public Radio

Regulators in Washington state have approved a major settlement with a utility that owns part of the Colstrip power plant. It includes $10 million to help Colstrip transition away from a coal driven economy.

Colstrip’s biggest champion in the Montana Legislature says has mixed feelings about the money.

Activists, Officials Demand Colstrip Closure Date

Nov 16, 2017
Power plant at Colstrip, MT.
Beth Saboe / MontanaPBS

Climate change activists and elected officials in Washington state are criticizing Puget Sound Energy's new long-range power generation plan. They say the utility isn't moving fast enough toward 100 percent renewable energy sources. That includes stating definitively that Puget Sound will shut down the Colstrip electricity plant in 2025.

Nathanial Jones, the mayor pro tem of Olympia, Washington, says rising sea levels due to climate change threaten billions of dollars worth of development in his city.

On Tuesday, the Trump administration will abandon the Obama-era Clean Power Plan, but what does that mean for Montana's largest coal-fired power plant?

Colstrip power plant, Colstrip Montana.
Flicker User ambib (CC-BY-NC)

A legal settlement reached Friday could have a big impact on the future of Colstrip – both to the coal-fired power plant there, and the town itself.

Some renewable energy advocates say the settlement means the Colstrip plant could shut down sooner than had been anticipated – maybe as early as 2027, instead of sometime in the 2040s. But that depends on a lot of variables, and Colstrip’s backers say it could stay open for decades.

Failed Legislation Means Uncertainty For Colstrip's Future

May 3, 2017
Power plant at Colstrip, MT.
Beth Saboe / MontanaPBS

When Montana's 2017 Legislature adjourned on April 28, Sen. Duane Ankney, R-Colstrip, ended almost right where he began.

At the session's beginning, he helped draw up several bills that would help his community, which is facing the impending closure of two out of four units at its massive coal-fired electrical plant. By the time lawmakers left the Capitol, many of the bills – aimed at easing impacts on jobs, tax revenues and real estate – were dead.

Pages