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NorthWestern Energy seeks to buy more of Colstrip coal plant

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By Amy Beth Hanson ASSOCIATED PRESS

HELENA – NorthWestern Energy said Dec. 10 it will seek regulatory permission to acquire part of Puget Sound Energy’s share of the Colstrip Power Plant in Montana for $1 as some utilities look to unload their coal-generated power.

The agreement would involve taking over the Washington state utility’s 25 percent ownership interest a portion of the plant, and also purchasing an interest in the separate Colstrip Transmission System for as much as $3.75 million. That would boost South Dakota-based NorthWestern’s ownership interest in the power plant to 55 percent amid questions about the plant’s future.

Customers’ bills are not expected to increase, in part because NorthWestern will not have to buy as much higher-cost power on the open market during peak usage, officials said.

NorthWestern, will set aside about $5 million in profit from selling power to Puget Sound Energy for environmental remediation and decommissioning costs when Unit 4 is retired, officials said.

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