Montana Public Radio

Colstrip Power Plant

Montana could play a significant role in meeting the demand for renewable energy in the Pacific Northwest, according to a new study from the Bonneville Power Administration and the state of Montana.

Power plant at Colstrip, MT.
Beth Saboe / MontanaPBS

A new study funded in part by the coal industry says shutting down of Colstrip’s two newer, larger coal-fired electricity generators in the next decade could have a huge impact statewide.

Colstrip’s two older units, 1 and 2, will shut down no later than July 2022 because of a Clean Air Act lawsuit settlement. But the future of the newer units, 3 and 4, remains uncertain.

Coal train
(PD)

Attorney General Tim Fox’s office is cheering a ruling by a federal judge yesterday.

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Six days later, Interior rescinded its statement, saying no expansion was approved, and the original approval statement was the result of “internal miscommunication.”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

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.

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