Montana approves sale of Colstrip plant’s co-owner

Remains found in Bothell homicide, person of interest sought
Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Montana regulators have approved the sale of a Spokane, Washington-based utility that could have implications for the Colstrip coal-fired power plant’s future.

The Montana Public Service Commission voted Tuesday for Toronto, Canada-based Hydro One’s acquisition of Avista Corp. Several Pacific Northwest states must approve the sale.

Avista is a co-owner of the Colstrip plant, a major eastern Montana economic driver that is under pressure to close from environmental groups and other states.

Avista and Hydro One set a 2027 end-of-life depreciation schedule for Colstrip’s two newer units, a date commissioners say is too soon and politically driven.

Commissioners noted in their approval there is no closure date and a single company can’t determine one.

The plant’s two older units will close by 2022.

Avista has pledged $4.5 million to the city of Colstrip to help its transition from coal.