Published March 1, 2009 | March 2009 issue
Blaming regulatory delays and environmental lawsuits, a coalition of four rural electric cooperatives and the city of Great Falls has scrapped a $900 million coal-fired plant under construction near Great Falls. Instead, the group plans to build a smaller combined natural gas-fired facility and wind farm on the same site for about $220 million.
Conceived in 2003 to replace expiring contracts for cheap hydroelectric power from the Pacific Northwest, the Highwood coal-plant project ran into opposition from environmental groups and suffered financial setbacks. Last year the federal Rural Utilities Service refused to provide a low-interest loan for the project. The developers said they expect to secure private financing for the new plant.