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Environment & Science

Colstrip Unit 1 Ends Operation, Unit 2 To Close Saturday

The Colstrip Steam Electric Station's four stacks
Kayla Desroches
/
Yellowstone Public Radio
A part owner of the Colstrip coal-fired power plant in eastern Montana confirmed Jan. 2, 2020 that two of the plant’s four units are closing this week.";

 

A part owner of the Colstrip coal-fired power plant in eastern Montana confirmed Thursday that two of the plant’s four units are closing this week.

On Thursday morning, Unit 1 of the Colstrip Steam Electric Station closed in Colstrip, Montana.

That’s according to Puget Sound Energy spokesperson Andrew Padula, who said, “Currently, Unit 2 is just burning out the stock pile that’s in there now, but at this point unit 1 is closed.”

He said Unit 2 will close Saturday.

Coal mining advocacy group Colstrip United posted the closure dates on Facebook. It asked people to share memories to honor the units and their workers. Within 2 hours, the post drew more than 450 reactions, 100 comments and 270 shares.

While Units 1 and 2 will no longer produce energy, operator Talen Energy maintains that the closures are part of a longer process. 

When asked via email, Talen spokesperson Taryne Williams said she did not have information she could share about closures but wrote decommissioning will extend into 2020 with the help of an unspecified number of employees. 

She wrote employees may also be reassigned to Units 3 and 4 where staffing needs apply. She added that Talen has extended its contract with the union that includes most Colstrip employees until 2023 and it includes a retention and severance package. 

The Colstrip Steam Electric Station has been in operation since the mid 1970s. About 100 people work at Units 1 and 2.