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The Colstrip Power Generating Station was built as a result of changing global energy markets. Its future is tied to the same market factors that sparked its inception.

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According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, coal production in the United States has continued to decline since reaching a high point in 2008. U.S. coal production in 2016 was expected to be about 900 million short tons (MMst), 10% lower than in 2014 and the lowest level since 1986.

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration 2016

December 23, 2016

According to in a recent analysis of the global coal market, "Consumption decreased for the first time in 2015 as declines in the U.S. and China were not offset by growth elsewhere. China saw coal use decline in all major consuming sectors; electricity, steel, and cement. Coal generation dropped due to sluggish 0.5 percent electricity demand growth and the country’s diversification policy, which led to growth in hydro, nuclear, wind, solar, and natural gas power generation growth."

For decades, coal has been the dominant energy source for generating electricity in the United States. In 2016, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported natural gas surpassed coal when it comes to electricity generation. 2016 marked the first time that natural gas provides more electricity generation than coal on an annual average basis.

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration 2016

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