Coal-fired power plant in Montana to be mothballed

Citing proposed U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations and economic factors, PPL Montana, a subsidiary of PPL Corp. (NYSE: PPL), on Sept. 19 said it will place the 154 MW, coal-fired J.E. Corette power plant in Billings into long-term reserve status beginning in April 2015.

“Our detailed analysis has shown that to meet the emission reductions required by EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, we would need to invest $38 million in the Corette plant. We simply cannot justify that level of spending in the current wholesale power market in the Northwest,” said Pete Simonich, PPL Montana vice president and chief operating officer.

PPL Montana plans to operate the Corette plant until requirements of the Mercury and Air Toxics Standard take effect in April 2015. The plant will then be placed in reserve status.

Mothballing the Corette plant, rather than shutting it down permanently, gives PPL Montana the opportunity to resume operations at some point if conditions change, the company said.

PPL Montana also said wholesale power prices have been depressed in the Northwest because of declining electricity use and an abundance of new wind energy projects subsidized by federal production tax credits.

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