Montana

IEEFA Research

The Federal Government’s Coal-Leasing Program Is Broken: Here’s How to Fix It

Appoint a Price-Setting Commission; Ban Exports; Cancel Some Leases; Eliminate Self-Bonding; Mandate Set-Asides for Mine Clean-up and Miner Pensions; Require Twice-a-Year Audits; Assume Smaller Markets

It’s time for the U.S. to modernize how it manages its publicly owned coal reserves. That’s the essence of comments we’ve filed today with the Department of the Interior as it begins a review of its federal coal-leasing program in the Powder River Basin, a program that has been mismanaged for years at taxpayer expense […]

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IEEFA Analysis: Financial Condition of Montana’s Colstrip 1 and 2 Worse Than Previously Known


Costs to Ratepayers Stand to Increase if Puget Sound Keeps Two Coal-Fired Plants Alive

In testimony today to the state Utilities and Transportation Commission in Olympia, Wash., we are presenting fresh analyses that shows how two coal-fired electricity generators in Montana co-owned by Puget Sound Energy are worse investments  than previously known. Over the past several months, IEEFA has documented how Colstrip 1 and 2 have become an increasingly […]

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As the BLM Begins Coal-Lease ‘Listening Sessions,’ a Few Hard Truths Must Be Heard

Ban Coal Exports From the Powder River Basin, for Starters, and Impose a Moratorium on Taxpayer-Subsidized Leases

U.S. taxpayers own the largest remaining domestic coal reserves in the country, valuable resources that sit in the Powder River Basin of Montana and Wyoming and that are vital to the energy security of our country. The federal government, sad to say, has been an almost pathologically passive overseer of these resources (read more about […]

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Study Concludes That Colstrip 1 and 2 Are Financially Unviable; Cautions Against Further Expenditures

In an Era of Low Natural-Gas Prices and Competition From Renewable Energy, Phasing Out Two Coal-Fired Units Is the Best Option for Owners

JUNE 23, 2015 (IEEFA) — An analysis of data on operational costs and energy markets by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis questions the financial viability of the two oldest units at the Colstrip coal-fired power plant in eastern Montana. Colstrip Units 1 and 2, which are owned equally by Talen Montana and Puget Sound […]

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Comments on Proposed Consolidated Federal Oil and Gas and Federal and Indian Coal Valuation Reform, ONRR-2012-0004-0024

COAL SOLD FOR EXPORT SHOULD NOT BE EXEMPT FROM FEDERAL ROYALTY PAYMENTS

Comments on Proposed Consolidated Federal Oil and Gas and Federal and Indian Coal Valuation Reform, ONRR-2012-0004-0024 By Tom Sanzillo, Director of Finance, Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis

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Report – No Need for New U.S. Coal Ports: Data Shows Oversupply in Capacity

No Need for New U.S. Coal Ports: Data Shows Oversupply in Capacity (pdf) By Tom Sanzillo, Director of Finance, IEEFA  

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Report: 20 Fourth-Quarter Questions for Powder River Basin Coal Producers

20 Fourth-Quarter Questions for Powder River Basin Coal Producers (pdf) By Tom Sanzillo, Director of Finance, Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis

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Memo- Response to the Department of Interior, Office of Inspector General Audit on Federal Coal Leasing Program

Policy memo: Response to the Department of Interior, Office of Inspector General Audit on Federal Coal Leasing Program June 28, 2013 (pdf)

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Report- Almost $30 billion in revenues lost to taxpayers by “giveaway” of federally owned coal in Powder River Basin

Almost $30 billion in revenues lost to taxpayers by “giveaway” of federally owned coal in Powder River Basin (pdf) With almost no accountability, BLM failure created boom in electric power industry use of artificially cheap coal from Montana and Wyoming; Next major coal sale set for Thursday   WASHINGTON, D.C. – June 25, 2012 – […]

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More News and Commentary

New York Town’s Post-Coal Transition Seen as Model for Colstrip, Montana

Eric Tegethoff for Public News Service Montana: Although the fate of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan is up in the air now that Donald Trump has been elected president, at least part of Colstrip’s coal-fired power plant is still likely to close by 2022. Peter DeJesus, field coordinator for Western New York Area […]

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Op-Ed: The Truth About Colstrip, and About Montana’s Coal Future in General

Tom and Donovan Power for the Great Falls Tribune: The most basic part of this debate is that the coal industry has been in a slump both domestically and internationally for years. Most of the largest coal companies in the U.S. and most of the major coal companies mining in Wyoming and Montana have had […]

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IEEFA Update (Corrected): Wind in the Wires, and More on the Way

30 States Have Projects Under Construction or in Advanced Development

Wind power is a rapidly growing source of electricity in the U.S., doubling its share of generation in just five years, to 4.9 percent in 2015. The declining cost of wind power, along with cheap natural gas, has put tremendous financial pressure on both coal-fired and nuclear power plants, and is changing the mix of fuels […]

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Montana Retrofit of Failing Coal Plant Would Cost $1.2 Billion

Matthew Brown for the Associated Press: Retrofitting Montana’s largest coal-fired power plant to reduce greenhouse gas emissions would cost at least $1.2 billion, but that price tag could be at least partially offset by selling captured carbon dioxide for use in oil fields, federal officials said Wednesday. Senior U.S. Department of Energy representatives presented the […]

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Of Seven New U.S. Coal-Export Terminals Planned in the Past Five Years, None Has Opened

Timothy Puko and Erica E. Phillips for the Wall Street Journal: Western coal producers once saw exports to Asia as their future. For many, that dream is fading. A global glut has flooded overseas markets that were once expected to buy coal produced along a belt stretching from Utah to Montana that includes the Powder […]

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IEEFA Montana: Closing of Two Coal-Fired Units Is an Acknowledgment of Their Failure to Compete

Lawsuit Settlement Sets Retirement of Colstrip 1 and 2 by 2022


News yesterday that a pair of coal-fired power-generation units in Montana will finally close had an air of inevitability about it. Here’s the lead from the Associated Press story: “The Colstrip coal plant in Montana that serves utility customers across the Pacific Northwest—including Puget Sound Energy customers—agreed to shut down two of its four units and limit […]

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Colstrip Will Close Two Coal-Fired Units

Matthew Brown for the Associated Press: A large Montana coal plant serving utility customers across the Pacific Northwest agreed Tuesday to shut down two of its four units by 2022 and limit pollution from the plant until that happens, under a settlement with environmentalists who sued over emission violations. Terms of the partial shutdown of […]

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U.S. Moratorium on New Coal Leases Draws Critics and Advocates

Dennis Webb for the Grand Junction (Colo.) Daily Sentinel: Pro-coal advocates are working to turn out in force Thursday when the Bureau of Land Management holds a meeting in Grand Junction to gather input on possible reforms to the federal coal program. The meeting is one of six being held around the country, and supporters […]

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Op-Ed: ‘How Montana PSC Saved Customers $8 Million’

Ann Hedges for the Billing Gazette: Who should pay when a coal plant breaks down? That was the question before the Montana Public Service Commission recently after one of the larger units at the Colstrip coal-fired power plant was out of service for almost seven months in 2013. The PSC had to decide whether shareholders […]

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Ruling in Montana in Favor of Electricity Ratepayers Billed $8 Million for Plant’s Outage

The Story of a Public Service Commission That Sided With Consumers

Who should pay when a coal plant breaks down? That was the question before the Montana Public Service Commission recently after one of the larger units at the Colstrip coal-fired power plant in southeastern Montana was out of service for almost seven months in 2013. The PSC had to decide whether shareholders or electricity customers would […]

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