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Frequently Asked Questions

A) Puget Sound Energy is committed to paying its share of prudent decommissioning and remediation costs associated with Colstrip at the appropriate time. PSE is employing a variety of tools and funding mechanisms to responsibly plan for the future:

• Utilizing legislative and regulatory mechanisms, PSE was the first owner to establish a separate funding mechanism for cleanup.

• Through this funding mechanism, PSE placed $95 million in hydro-related Treasury Grants into a retirement account to fund and recover prudently incurred decommissioning and remediation costs for Colstrip Units 1 & 2.

• An additional $240 million stemming from existing federal tax benefits has been set aside for customer costs associated with Colstrip Units 1-4 including decommissioning and remediation.

• Furthermore, Washington’s Clean Energy Transformation Act allows for the recovery in electric rates of all prudently incurred decommissioning and remediation costs associated with a coal-fired resource, including Colstrip.

• Accordingly, PSE has proposed a tracking mechanism for these sort of Colstrip costs in its most recently filed General Rate Case under consideration by the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission.

Taken together, this kind of forward planning ensures that Montanans will not have to worry about paying for PSE’s portion of decommissioning and remediation costs associated with Colstrip.

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Q) How can Montana energy producers partner with PSE?

A) To meet the anticipated energy needs of our region in the coming years, PSE is acquiring new sources of energy. Pursuant to Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission Purchases of Resources rules (WAC 480-107), PSE must file an All-Source Request for Proposals (RFP) when the Integrated Resource Plan identifies a resource need within the next four years. PSE may also issue targeted and voluntary RFPs on an as-needed basis.

PSE is committed to a procurement process that is accessible and fair for all bidders. PSE encourages all bidders that are able to meet an RFP’s requirements to participate, including bidders representing minority-, women-, disabled- and veteran-owned businesses. PSE encourages bidders interested in partnering with PSE to support supplier diversity through inclusive, competitive procurement processes.

Learn more about how PSE procures energy here:

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Q) How does Washington’s Clean Energy Transformation Act affect PSE’s future in Montana?

A) Washington’s Clean Energy Transformation Act (CETA) requires the state’s electric utilities, including Puget Sound Energy, to transition to a carbon-neutral supply of electricity by 2030 and source 100% of their electricity from renewable or non-carbon-emitting resources by 2045. According to CETA, coal must be out of PSE’s generation portfolio by the end of 2025. As PSE works to meet our aspirational goals of being a Beyond Net Zero Carbon company and meet obligations outlined in CETA, Montana can continue to play a strategic role in supplying a diverse supply of clean, reliable and renewable energy. Learn more about current Montana-based projects here {link to Projects page}

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Q) How is the Colstrip Transmission System affected by the retirement of Colstrip Units 1 & 2?

A) After Colstrip Units 1 & 2 were retired in January 2020, the associated transmission capacity was released to the market and was available for customers to purchase, as described below.

Available transmission capacity is posted on the Colstrip Transmission owners Open Access Same Time Information System websites. Access to transmission capacity must adhere to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) rules. The transfer capability available on the Colstrip Transmission System for new resources is a function of, among other things, the type of new resource, its size and other characteristics, its location, and the modifications made to the system to accommodate the new resource.

Additional capacity may become available upon retirement of Colstrip Units 3 & 4 in the future. Colstrip Units 3 & 4 do not have a closure date at this time.

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Q) How much has PSE spent to date on decommissioning at Colstrip?

A) Decommissioning relates to the above grade structures of Colstrip. As of September 30, 2021, PSE has spent $18.1 million dollars associated with the decommissioning of Units 1 & 2 to keep the structures in a safe, dark, cold and dry condition. PSE does not have an estimate of our total decommissioning obligations at this time.

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Q) How much has PSE spent to date on remediation at Colstrip?

A) By way of background, remediation relates to addressing the legal requirements of the environmental impact related to Colstrip operation. As of September 30, 2021, PSE has spent $19.4 million dollars associated with Units 1 & 2 remediation and $21.5 million dollars associated with Units 3 & 4 remediation. At this time, PSE expects to spend $142.7 million dollars associated with Units 1 & 2 and $57.3 million dollars associated with Units 3 & 4 for our portion of remediation obligations (including estimated rates of inflation of 2.5%).

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Q) Is PSE interested in adding energy from new small modular reactors (nuclear) to its portfolio?

A) PSE is carefully watching the development of new energy innovation as the industry strives to produce net zero energy. However, like any other resource, energy from small modular reactors will have to be vetted through PSE’s RFP process and will be reviewed for prudency purposes by the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission. PSE is focused on safe, reliable, affordable and clean energy service for our customers.

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Q) What does the Colstrip Impacts Foundation do?

A) The volunteer-led Colstrip Impacts Foundation committee is responsible for grant making from two funds at the Montana Community Foundation - $2.5 million in a permanent fund and $7.5 million in a nonpermanent fund- received from Puget Sound Energy to support community transition and opportunity planning for Colstrip. Learn more here (Link:

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Q) What happens when the Montana Intertie Agreement Expires?

A) Consistent with the Terms of the Montana Intertie Agreement (MIA), two years prior to the MIA termination date (2025), Bonneville Power Administration is to offer to each Colstrip Owner to extend the Montana Intertie Agreement services for 20 years on terms not less favorable to the Colstrip Owner than those that BPA is then offering for comparable services.

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Q) What is a power purchase agreement?

A) A power purchase agreement (PPA) is a contract between two parties, one which generates electricity (the seller) and one which is looking to purchase electricity (the buyer). In this context, PSE is the buyer and is looking to purchase electricity. The PPA defines all of the commercial terms for the sale of electricity between the parties.

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Q) What is the Montana Intertie?

A) The Montana Intertie Agreement is managed and marketed by the Colstrip Transmission owners. The capacity on the Montana Intertie aligns with BPA’s capacity on the Eastern Intertie. The Eastern Intertie is the Bonneville Power Administration of the Montana Intertie from Townsend to Garrison. Capacity on the Eastern Intertie capacity is under contract with the Colstrip Owners through 2027.

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Q) What is the status of PSE’s 2021 All-Source RFP?

A) PSE’s 2021 All-Source RFP solicited bids from qualified respondents to supply up to 1,669 GWh of Clean Energy Transformation Act eligible resources and up to 1,506 MW of capacity resources to PSE. It is an All-Source RFP, meaning that PSE will consider any electric resource or energy storage resource that can meet all or part of the company’s resource need, consistent with the requirements described in the RFP. PSE is currently in Phase 2, narrowing to an RFP short list as described in the schedule here.

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