What would happen if Colstrip Units Three and Four closed in the next 10 years?

That was the topic of a study by the University of Montana Bureau of Business and Economic Research to the Montana Chamber of Commerce this week, and the results would be devastating to Montana’s economy.,

Study author Patrick Barkey reveals the bottom line of the study.

“The bottom line of the analysis was that an economy without Colstrip Units Three and Four is a smaller economy,” said Barkey. “It’s an economy with fewer jobs that will average about 3,300 fewer jobs over a 16 year period. It’s an economy with less income, less tax revenue and less sales to Montana businesses.”

State Senator Duane Ankney, a vocal supporter of the Colstrip power plants, spoke of the impact on Montana’s energy industry.

“You take 2500 megawatts off line and the price of power is going to jump between 30 to 40 percent,” said Ankney. “So, we will be a net importer of electricity, and if you can imagine what’ll do to small business, to industry and agriculture.”

Some of the points listed in the report include a loss of thousands of jobs, an economic loss of over $12 billion over a 16 year period, a drastic slowdown in Montana’s economy, and a loss of between $60 and $80 million in state tax and non-tax revenue over a 16 year period.