Colstrip operator Talen Energy files for bankruptcy

Colstrip Power Plant operator and co-owner Talen Energy has filed for bankruptcy citing debts of $4.5 billion.

In court filings Monday and Tuesday, Talen said natural gas prices that prior to 2021 were more affordable than coal, coupled with cheaply priced renewable energy resources, had made the company’s seven coal-fired power plants unprofitable.

“The previously low price of natural gas has meant that coal-fueled assets are no longer economical to run or keep updated. Thus, in many markets in the United States, generating capacity is transitioning from a coal-dominated generation base to a mix that incorporates larger amounts of natural gas and renewable units,” testified Ryan Leland Omohundro, Talen’s restricting advisor.

Reuters reports that Talen is committed to removing coal from all of its facilities. The company’s list of generating assets involved in the bankruptcy includes only one non-fossil fuel power plant, the Susquehanna Nuclear Power plant in Pennsylvania. Of the seven coal-fired power plants on the list, only two, Colstrip included, aren’t undergoing a conversion to another fuel source.

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