Colstrip Owners Settle Lawsuit in Montana

Shutdown of Oldest Two Units at Coal Plant Part of Agreement

BELLEVUE, Wash. (July 12, 2016) Puget Sound Energy has reached a settlement with the Sierra Club to dismiss all of the Clean Air Act allegations against the Colstrip Generating Station. As part of the settlement, PSE has agreed that it, along with Talen Energy, will retire the two oldest units at the Colstrip Generating Station in eastern Montana by no later than July 1, 2022. The units are becoming less economic as the price of natural gas has dropped and remained low.

“Our customers expect PSE to be good stewards of the environment and to keep energy costs reasonable. The eventual closure of Units 1 and 2 at Colstrip without the risk of further legal proceedings or additional significant investments in the units to meet regulatory requirements enables us to accomplish both of these goals,” said Kimberly Harris, PSE’s President and CEO.

“We know this will be a time of transition in Colstrip. We have been a part of the community for four decades, and we will continue to be there for many years to come.”

Colstrip Units 1 and 2 are more than 40 years old. PSE owns 50 percent of those two units, and independent power producer Talen Energy owns the other 50 percent. Talen, which is responsible for daily operations at Colstrip, has also agreed to the shutdown of Units 1 and 2. Altogether, there are six owners of the four units, and all six are part of the settlement with the Sierra Club.

The settlement does not impact Units 3 and 4 at Colstrip, which are co-owned by PSE, Talen Energy, NorthWestern Energy, PacifiCorp, Avista and Portland General Electric. Those units are newer, have more capacity (about 1,500 megawatts of combined generation) and are more efficient. Units 3 and 4 will remain as a productive part of our diverse generating portfolio, providing our customers reliable and efficient service and ensuring continued operations at Colstrip.

  • Minimizes financial risks: PSE believes this settlement is in the best interest of our customers by avoiding the potential need for the installation of additional pollution control equipment for Units 1 and 2 due to future regulatory requirements.
  • Provides clarity in a time of transition: PSE wants to do the right thing for its 1.1 million electric customers and the right thing for the people of Montana and those in the town of Colstrip as we transition to cleaner sources of energy.
  • Aligns with a changing energy landscape: There are increasing pressures on coal today, primarily from new and very inexpensive supplies of natural gas that can produce electricity more cheaply and with fewer emissions than coal. In addition to the changing economics of coal, there are shifting policies and regulations on the state and federal levels, including the Environmental Protection Agency’s regional haze plan and Clean Power proposal.

About Puget Sound Energy

Puget Sound Energy is proud to serve our neighbors and communities in 10 Washington counties. We’re the state’s largest utility, supporting 1.1 million electric customers and 800,000 natural gas customers.

For more about us and what we do, visit Also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Media Contact

Christina Donegan, 1-888-831-7250