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Industry News

PPL Montana Announces Decision to Mothball Corette Coal Plant

LCG, September 20, 2012--PPL Montana, a subsidiary of PPL Corp., announced yesterday its decision to place the J.E. Corette power plant in Billings, Montana into long-term reserve status beginning in April 2015, when the Environmental Protection Agency's Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) regulations go into effect.

The PPL Montana vice president and chief operating officer stated, "Our detailed analysis has shown that to meet the emission reductions required by EPA's Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, we would need to invest $38 million in the Corette plant. We simply cannot justify that level of spending in the current wholesale power market in the Northwest."

Power market economics also influenced the decision. According to the press release, 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.

By placing the 154-MW coal plant into long-term reserve status (i.e., mothballing the plant), PPL Montana will retain the option to return the plant to service, given the right conditions. The plant commenced commercial operations in 1968 and consumes low-sulfur coal from the Powder River Basin.
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