Now is the time to lower electric rates by increasing renewable energy generation.
Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association is the parent regional electric cooperative of our local electric coop, Sangre de Cristo Electric Association and 41 other electric cooperatives. SDCEA gets 95% of its electricity supply from Tri-State. If you pay for your electricity through SDCEA, you are an electric cooperative member/owner, and have a say in how our coop gets its electricity.
Over the last several years, Colorado legislative and grassroots advocacy has pushed for more transparency and effort from Tri-State toward a clean energy transition. As a result, Tri-State was put under Public Utilities Commission oversight in 2019 for the first time. Colorado law also requires Tri-State to reduce their carbon emissions 80% by 2030 for electricity delivered to Colorado. Consequently, Tri-State is in the process of writing an Electric Resource Plan for the PUC.
Historically, Tri-State’s energy portfolio has been predominantly made up of coal assets. Today, those assets are more expensive than cleaner renewable sources. This has caused rural coop members like us to pay much more for our electricity than residents who get their electricity from investor-owned utilities like Xcel, which are investing in more renewable energy.
Through the ERP process, Tri-State is making significant strides toward cleaner, more economical electricity by promising to close their coal plant in Craig, Colorado by 2029 and to provide a just transition for those coal workers. Coal-fired plants in Nucla, Colorado and Escalante, New Mexico are also slated for closure. Plus, Tri-State is planning to add 2 gigawatts of wind and solar energy to their portfolio by 2030. These changes will help to lower rates for rural Colorado customers.
Although Tri-State has made some big promises, it is up to the PUC to require Tri-State to follow through. And there is more Tri-State can do. For example, its large coal plants in Wyoming and Arizona should also be retired. In addition, Tri-State can make it easier for its member coops to generate more of their own clean energy.
The ERP public comment period is open now. Please consider sending an email asking the PUC to hold Tri-State to their promises for more clean, economical renewable energy sources that will help lower rural electric rates.
Ask them to push Tri-State to do even more to join the clean energy transition. Send your email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to include “Case #20A-0528E” in your email subject line.