The planned shutdown of two of the Colstrip Power Plant units has begun.
Colstrip Unit 1 is no longer operating. Unit 2 is expected to shutdown Saturday, according to Puget Sound Energy, which splits ownership of the units with Talen Energy. The two companies announced last June the two units, which have operated since the mid-1970s, were uneconomical.
“Unit 1 shut down today and we understand that Unit 2 is closing Saturday, that it’s burning through what (coal) is stockpiled,” said Christina Donegan, Puget Sound Energy communications director.
Rumors about the units closing were churning early Thursday with word that both might close today. By noon, the Montana Republican Senate Majority had issued a statement from Sen. Duane Ankney, R-Colstrip stating that Saturday “Colstrip Units 1 and 2 will be closed — with the doors dismantled and welded shut.”
The units, with a combined capacity of 614 megawatts, employ roughly 100 workers.
Talen Energy, which also operates the power plants four units, said it had no one on hand to comment on the closure.
Previously, Talen told The Gazette the units would be closed after the New Year holiday. Although the units would no longer operate, Talen said there were several months of post-shutdown work to be done, which would keep employees working on Units 1 and 2 possibly until June.
The shutdown has been expected since 2016 when the owners of Colstrip Power Plant settled an air pollution lawsuit filed against all four units by agreeing to close Units 1 and 2 no later than 2022.