Billings, Mont., September 20, 2012 — PPL Montana will place the coal-fired J.E. Corette power plant in Billings into long-term reserve status beginning in April 2015. The utility said the decision was based on economic factors and pending Environmental Protection Agency regulations.
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, according to PPL Montana.
PPL Montana plans to operate the Corette plant until requirements of the Mercury and Air Toxics Standard take effect in April 2015. The plant will then be placed in reserve status, commonly called “mothballing.”
Mothballing the Corette plant, rather than shutting it down permanently, gives PPL Montana the opportunity to resume operations at some point if conditions change.
The 154 MW power plant, which uses low-sulfur coal from the Powder River Basin, has 35 full-time employees. The plant began operation in 1968.
PPL Montana also operates the Colstrip power plant, which is not affected by the Corette decision and is better positioned to meet the requirements of the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards.
PPL Montana owns more than 1,200 MW of coal-fired and hydroelectric generating capacity across Montana and has offices in Billings, Butte and Helena. PPL Montana and its 500 employees support educational, environmental and economic development programs across the state.
PPL EnergyPlus operates a trading floor in Butte that markets and sells power for PPL Montana in wholesale and retail energy markets throughout the western U.S. PPL Montana and PPL EnergyPlus are units of PPL Corp.