Colstrip Power Plant will start 2022 without an approved operating budget for the second year in a row because of large disagreements on cost.
Power plant operator Talen Energy and Colstrip’s majority ownership are reportedly $25 million apart on how much should be spent on power plant operations and maintenance in 2022. The reveal comes from NorthWestern Energy as it seeks arbitration about whether unanimous approval from owners is needed to close the power plant.
At issue is whether the power plant should be managed for closure within four years when Washington utilities will have to stop billing customers for coal power. Washington is the largest consumer of Colstrip electricity with three of the power plant’s utility owners doing business there. Oregon has a similar phase-out plan and is second-largest consumer of Colstrip Power.
Talen Energy said Wednesday it expected the budget differences to be ironed out. Less that a year ago, the Montana Legislature sought to tip scales in favor of Talen and NorthWestern by overriding portions of the Colstrip ownership agreement and empowering the Montana attorney general to mandate maintenance by imposing daily fines of $100,000 to noncomplying owners.
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