Partial Montana Coal Plant Shutdown Could Come Sooner Than Expected

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By Editors of Power Engineering

Though Puget Sound Energy announced it could shut down two of the four generators at the coal-fired Colstrip power plant in 2022, filings submitted to Washington state regulators indicate the closure could happen earlier than that.

In the documents, Puget Sound indicated the plant’s co-owner, Talen Energy, wants to exit its role as Colstrip’s operator by mid-2018, the Associated Press reported.

Though Puget Sound reaffirmed the company hopes to run the units at the plant near Colstrip, Montana through 2022, the closure date will now hinge on finding a new operator for the plant, as well as a potential wholesale energy tax rate increase from .015 to .030 cents per kilowatt hour that is currently before the Montana Legislature.

Bids from organizations hoping to become new operators are due by February. A move to shut down units one and two would need the approval of Riverstone Holdings LLC, which purchased Talen Energy last year.

Talen assumed control of Colstrip in 2015.

There are no plans to shut down the other two units at the 2,100-MW Colstrip facility. The AP noted the plant has been seen as increasingly uneconomical to operate due to competition from cheaper power sources and mounting pollution control costs.

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