One Of America’s Largest Coal-Fired Power Plants Is Inching Toward Shutdown
Competition from cheap natural gas and renewable energy sources is leading to one of the largest coal-fired plants in the U.S.’s eventual shutdown, according to The Hill.
The Colstrip Steam Electric Station in Colstrip, Montana, is set to close two of its four units by the beginning of this week, or as soon as they run out of coal. The plant is unable to compete with alternative sources of energy and operating costs have risen due to mandates for stricter pollution controls.
The plant employs around 300 people of Colstrip, which is home to about 2,300 people.
The two units that are shutting down are operated by Pennsylvania-based Talen, which co-owns them with Puget Sound Energy. Talen Energy spokeswoman said that employees will be re-assigned to decommissioning work, but there’s no “hard and fast numbers or timelines” as the company considers how many workers it will need for the two remaining units.
Large amounts of ash from burning coal at Colstrip has contaminated underground water supplies with toxic materials and is expected to cost hundreds of millions of dollars to clean up.
The six utilities that own shares of the two remaining units plan to stop operations as soon as 2025.