MTPR

Puget Sound Energy

Power plant at Colstrip, MT.
Beth Saboe / MontanaPBS

Units 1 and 2 of the coal-fired power plant in Colstrip will permanently close at the end of this year. Plant operator Talen Energy made that announcement in a press release Tuesday, saying the company has been unsuccessful in making the units economically viable. Talen says the plant’s newer units, 3 and 4, will remain open.

Power plant at Colstrip, MT.
Beth Saboe / MontanaPBS

Lawmakers in Helena are starting to debate whether the state could borrow up to $500 million to buy the coal-fired power plant in Colstrip

The future of the plant is up in the air. The West Coast consumers who Colstrip sends most of its power to are pushing away from coal-powered electricity due to climate change concerns. Coal power is also becoming more expensive relative to electricity generated by natural gas and renewables.

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Six days later, Interior rescinded its statement, saying no expansion was approved, and the original approval statement was the result of “internal miscommunication.”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

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.

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.

Power plant at Colstrip, MT.
Beth Saboe / MontanaPBS

A legal settlement announced late Friday afternoon could send $10 million to the town of Colstrip to mitigate impacts from the partial shut down of the huge coal-fired power plant there.

"I think it’s a win for the town of Colstrip and a win for the state of Montana," says Eric Sell, a spokesman for Montana Attorney General Tim Fox.

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