Posted: Sep 20, 2012 7:28 AM by Jay Kohn - Q2 News
Updated: Sep 20, 2012 7:28 AM
BILLINGS - A major change in store for a long time fixture of the Billings skyline.
PPL Montana announced late Wednesday that it will mothball the J.E.Corette Power Plant located along the Yellowstone River in south Billings, beginning in the spring of 2015.
PPL Montana Vice President Pete Simonich says the decision is due to a combination of economic factors and pending environmental regulations.
Simonich says the company would need to invest as much as $38 million dollars in the plant in order to meet the Environmental Protection Agency's new mercury and air toxic emission standards that go into effect in April of 2015.
"We simply cannot justify that level of spending in the current wholesale power market in the Northwest," said Simonich.
Simonich said wholesale power prices have been depressed in the Northwest because of declining electricity use, and an abundance of new wind energy projects subsidized by federal production tax credits
He also points out that mothballing the plant, rather than shutting it down permanently, gives the company the opportunity to resume operations at some point. if conditions change.
The 154-megawatt power plant was built in 1968, and employs 35 full time people.
The plant uses low sulfur coal from the Powder River Basin.