Relevant to the 175-megawatt Laurel RICE plant, SB 379 also set up a formula to determining what customers were to pay for these new-to-NorthWestern Colstrip acquisitions. A 185-megawatt share of Unit 4 was likely to cost customers $486 million according to PSC analysts, who also offered up an alternative $238 million price that eliminated basic costs like coal for making coal power, power plant maintenance, and capital expenses.
Lawmakers were told there was no cheaper option.
“The only thing that’s cheaper would be if you went down to the store and got some candles down at Safeway and burned those. That’s probably cheaper. But nobody has produced anything that says that anything is cheaper than this. Replacing Colstrip is not cheaper,” Fitzpatrick told lawmakers last week.
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