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Wed Jun 12, 2019, 03:08 AM

Operator: 2 units of Montana coal plant to close this year

HELENA, Mont. | The company that operates a coal-fired power plant in eastern Montana said Tuesday it will close two of the plant's four units about 30 months ahead of schedule because of the high cost of running them and the unwillingness of its coal supplier to lower prices.

Talen Montana said in a statement the older units of the Colstrip Steam Electric Station, whose combined 614-megawatt capacity is co-owned by Talen and Puget Sound Energy, will be permanently retired on Dec. 31. The newer Colstrip units, which generate the bulk of the 2,100-megawatt plant's output and are owned by six companies, will continue operating although those whose livelihoods depend on the plant worry it also may be shuttered early.

The partial closure would be the latest among coal-fired plants going offline across the nation. Demand for coal is dropping as utilities turn to cheap natural gas and renewable energy, while pollution rules increase coal power costs and some states worried about climate change seek to divest from coal.

The older units had been slated for closure by mid-2022 as part of a settlement in an environmental lawsuit. The decision to retire the units early came after an extensive review and exhaustive efforts to make the units economically viable, Talen Montana President Dale Lebsack said.

Read more: https://rapidcityjournal.com/news/latest/operator-units-of-montana-coal-plant-to-close-this-year/article_9621123a-5c66-51bd-834e-8955b047d928.html

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