Talen Montana, as operator for Colstrip, would work with the Montana Department of Environmental Quality to address groundwater impacts at the Colstrip site


Image: Talen Montana owns 50% stake in Colstrip units 1 and 2. Photo courtesy of Kiril Havezov/Freeimages.com.

Talen Montana, the operator of the Colstrip Steam Electric Station, announced that the owners of Colstrip units 1 and 2 will permanently retire the units effective 31 December 2019, while units 3 and 4 will continue operations.

Talen Montana said that it will work closely with all stakeholders to ensure the retirement process carried out orderly and minimize the effect on employees, community members and other key stakeholders.

In addition, the company is planning to redeploy the affected Colstrip employees to work on unit 1 and 2 retirement activities or the operation and maintenance of units 3 and 4.

Talen Montana president Dale Lebsack said: “The decision to retire Colstrip Units 1 and 2 comes after extensive review and exhaustive efforts over the last few years to address the financial challenges that these units face. The plant team has done a great job of responding to the challenges faced by Units 1 and 2, but we have been unsuccessful in making the units economically viable.

“Fuel constitutes the bulk of our operating cost, and our repeated efforts to negotiate lower fuel prices with Westmoreland Rosebud Mining, the plant’s sole and only historically permitted fuel supplier, have been rebuffed. Rather than working with us to keep Units 1 and 2 open, Westmoreland is proposing to increase the units’ fuel cost going forward.”

Talen Montana owns 50% stake in Colstrip units 1 and 2

Colstrip facility units 1 and 2, which have a total generating capacity of 614MW, are owned by Talen Montana holding 50% and Puget Sound Energy holding 50%.

Under the 2017 Montana Coal-Fired Generating Unit Remediation Act, after the retirement of the Colstrip units 1 and 2, the owners are required to fulfil existing commitments to the State of Montana that includes submission of a remediation plan to MDEQ no later than three months after permanently retiring the units which detailing plans to remediate Colstrip units 1 and 2.

Furthermore, as Colstrip plant operator, Talen Montana would primarily focus on making Colstrip units 3 and 4 remain an economically viable source of safe, reliable power.