Montana coal power plant closing two units built in 1970s

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - One of the largest coal-fired power plants in the western U.S. will close two of its four units within days as the Montana facility edges toward an eventual total shutdown. Talen Energy spokeswoman Taryne Williams said Thursday that Colstrip Units 1 and 2 will close by Jan. 5 or as soon as they run out of coal. The plant that started producing electricity in 1975 and employs about 300 people has become increasingly uneconomical amid competition from renewable energy and cheap natural gas. Williams says the company wants to avoid layoffs and employees for now will turn to decommissioning work that will last through mid-2020.