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Time Appears to Be Running Out for Colstrip Units in Montana

first_imgTime Appears to Be Running Out for Colstrip Units in Montana FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Jay Kohn for KTVQ (Billings):Two separate actions, by two separate state legislatures, could lead to the future closure of all four coal-fired power plants at Colstrip, Montana.In Oregon, the state legislature passed a bill this week that sets a deadline for Oregon utilities to eliminate coal-fired electricity within 20 years.In Washington state, a bill that paves the way to close the two oldest coal-fired plants in Colstrip, passed the House of Representatives Friday afternoon.The bill allows Puget Sound Energy (PSE) to use a special fund to cover the costs of closing Colstrip plants 1 & 2.PSE, which owns half of Colstrip Units 1 & 2,, is the largest electric utility in Washington state.Supporters of the Colstrip plants say both measures are bad news for the plants future, although the Washington bill could have impacts much sooner.A spokesman for Puget Sound says the bill does not force the closure of Colstrip., but Montana state senator Duane Ankney says he doesn’t trust what Washington officials are saying.“You never get the same story out of anybody over there when you talk to them,” said Ankney.“What I do know, just from being an old coal miner, I know that you can’t count on anything they say,” Ankney said.Meanwhile, an energy economist told the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission Friday that market forces alone, are putting the squeeze on all four Colstrip plants.“Puget Sound Energy has said that Talen Energy, that owns half of Units 1 & 2, is hemorrhaging dollars, and we believe that’s true,” said economist David Schlissel, Director of Resource Planning Analysis for The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA).“We also believe the same market and economic forces that are hurting Units 1 & 2 at Colstrip, are affecting Units 3 & 4 as well,” said Schlissel.“We’re not saying they’re going to be retired in the very near future, but their relative economics and financial viability have been weakened,” said Schlissel.Colstrip Power Plants 1 & 2, the oldest of the Montana plants, are co-owned by Puget Sound Energy & Talen Energy, the company that manages & operates the plants.Colstrip Units 3 & 4 are owned by five separate utilities, including Puget Sound, Pacific Corps, Avista, Portland General Electric, Northwestern Energy and Talen.Energy economist David Schlissel also told the Washington commission Friday that due to rising operating costs at Colstrip, Talen Energy’s share in Colstrip Unit 3 now has zero to negative value over the next 20 years.Sen. Ankney told MTN News that he believes the Washington State bill primarily protects Puget Sound Energy shareholders, from paying for the cost of closing Colstrip 1 & 2.Full article: Oregon and Washington legislatures advance bills targeting coal fired powerlast_img read more