Colstrip is being called “the poster child” for what the country needs to deal with regarding the future of coal. With organizations rushing to cut coal from their roster of energy supply sources, some have wondered whether or not coal could provide reliability in an age of renewable energy.
That was one of the main topics discussed at the Montana Energy Summit being held this week in Billings. With exports of coal increasing, especially in Asia, a growing number of advocates are hesitant to completely do away with the longtime energy source.
The concern stems from mandated renewable energy and natural gas, which is not yet being demanded at a level that justifies the exclusion of coal as an energy source in the future. Talen Energy, which announced plans to relinquish its role as operator of the Colstrip plant, has reviewed the role of coal in America’s next generation of energy production and stated that it intends to stay “for the long haul.”