Tag Archives: Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI)

Colorado co-op vote sets table for defection from coal power wholesaler

By Mark Olaide, Energy News Network

A Colorado electric cooperative could strike the latest blow against a regional power wholesaler facing complaints that it has moved too slowly in its transition to renewable energy. The Delta-Montrose Electric Association will vote in October on rule changes that would allow another power supplier to help finance its exit from a contract with Tri-State Generation and Transmission. The association is among Tri-State’s largest customers, and its defection could heighten the risk of a mass exodus as others are forced to cover a larger share of costs for operating the wholesaler’s infrastructure, including its coal-fired power plants. Read more here.

Map: Tri-State’s 43 co-op members include 6 in Nebraska.

The Rocky Mountain Institute recently released a report:
A Low-Cost Energy Future for Western Cooperatives, which concluded that transitioning to new solar and wind generation could save Tri-State members $600 million by 2030. In 2017 coal accounted for about half of Tri-State’s generation, according to the report.

Q&A: Report outlines cost of continued reliance on coal, by Allen Best




Better realtime loss analysis tells utilities where solar, storage DER make sense, by Dan Garvey,
Contributor, Electric Power & Light

Consumers who flip on lights and power up the ever-growing number of devices in their living rooms are receiving electricity from a grid that has to generate two Watts of electricity for every one Watt delivered.  Put another way, the Department of Energy estimates that more than 60 percent of the electricity generated is lost before it is consumed in our homes. Other estimates claim even larger losses.

According to the EIA, distribution system losses alone account for over $19 billion in the U.S. annually, in real physical losses and Unaccounted for Energy (UFE), the costs of which are passed on to all customers. In addition to the economic cost of such inefficiency, the negative environmental impact is substantial. We must do better. And with new tools available, now we can.

Q&A: Report outlines cost of continued reliance on coal

By Allen Best, Energy News Network

Rural ratepayers in the Rocky Mountain region will pay hundreds of millions of dollars more for electricity if their wholesale supplier fails to take advantage of low-cost renewable energy opportunities, according to a new report released today.

Tri-State Generation & Transmission supplies power to 43 member electrical co-operatives in New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, and Nebraska. Together, the co-ops have a million customers, which in the co-op setup are also members. Continue reading here.

Rocky Mountain Institute Report: A Low-Cost Energy Future For Western Cooperatives: Emerging Opportunities For Cooperative Electric Utilities To Pursue Clean Energy At A Cost Savings To Their Members

Photo: The Laramie River Station near Wheatland, Wyoming. Tri State Generation owns a share of the facility.

Tri-State Generation & Transmission Territory 



CR Chimney Rock Public Power District, Bayard
MW The Midwest Electric Cooperative Corporation, Grant
NW Northwest Rural Public Power District, Hay Springs
PH Panhandle Rural Electric Membership Association, Alliance
RS Roosevelt Public Power District, Scottsbluff
WB Wheat Belt Public Power District, Sidney

Rocky Mountain Institute Releases Carbon-Free City Handbook

RMI Press Release

The Carbon-Free City Handbook is a resource for city leaders around the world to take real and meaningful action toward their commitments with 22 ready-to-implement, no-regrets solutions that have proven success. Each recommendation draws off the work of more than 50 city leaders and sustainability directors and is a meaningful action that almost any city can pursue and apply locally, seeing results within a year. Ideas are nearly universally applicable for cities with a population of 100,000+ with compelling economics.

Actions are organized into five chapters, covering key areas for impact:

  1. Buildings, which contribute an average of 48 percent to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in large cities
  2. Transportation and mobility, which account for an average of 36 percent of GHG emissions in large cities
  3. Electricity, which accounts for 25 percent of urban GHG emissions from all sectors
  4. Industry, which accounts for an average of 7 percent of GHG emissions in large cities, and often much more
  5. Biological resources, which can contribute to reduction in waste and account for 7 percent of GHG emissions on average in large cities while providing new carbon sink opportunities

Read the entire press release here.

PV Magazine:
Rocky Mountain Institute issues guide for greener cities
The “Carbon-Free Handbook” can serve as a useful template for localities planning or actively engaged in large-scale solar and related initiatives like the Sierra Club’s “Ready For 100 and the U.S. Department of Energy’s “SolSmart programs.

It’s time for solar, wind and energy storage to jointly campaign for 100% renewables by 2050

Opinion by Tor “Solar Fred” Valenza  PV Magazine

Solar, wind and energy storage industry communicators and advocates, it’s time for us to jointly and individually state a very public goal of attaining 100% renewable energy in the United States by 2050. Read the entire opinion here.

Tor “Solar Fred” Valenza is senior strategy adviser for Kiterocket’s renewable energy practice and a communications consultant for other solar and renewables brands.

Staying below 2 degrees is “possible and practical” says RMI

Report Release: Financing Community-Scale Solar

Authors: Kieran Coleman, Thomas Koch Blank, Curtis Probst, and Jeff Waller, Rocky Mountain Institute

Effective financing approaches have been fundamental to the solar industry’s exponential growth over the past 15 years. The first solar power purchase agreement (PPA) in the early 2000s enabled customers to spread their upfront costs for solar over time, just as home mortgages do. Starting in 2005, federal tax credits for renewables helped to reduce overall costs and encouraged new investors to enter the market. These and other innovations spurred the commercialization of residential and utility-scale solar photovoltaics (PV) in the U.S. by transforming a once-marginal energy asset into a product that households, companies, and local governments can more easily access. Read the entire news release.

Download Financing Community-Scale Solar here.

New Ruling Opens Up 400 GW Renewables Market to Rural Electric Cooperatives and Municipal Utilities


The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) confirms that co-ops can buy unlimited power from PURPA-qualifying facilities. Distribution co-ops and municipal utilities are no longer constrained in their ability to source cost-competitive local power.

 By Kevin Brehm and Joseph Goodman, Rocky Mountain Institute

The ruling has major implications for the nation’s 905 electric cooperatives and 830 municipal utilities as well as the for-profit and nonprofit generation and transmission providers that serve those co-ops . . . The FERC ruling has opened up a huge potential distributed renewable energy market. Renewable energy buyers and sellers both have a role to play in enabling this market to achieve its full potential. Click to learn more about the ruling.

The Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA), enacted November 9, 1978, is a United States Act passed as part of the Natonal Energy Act. It was meant to promote energy conservation (reduce demand) and promote greater use of domestic energy and renewable energy (increase supply). The law was created in response to the 1973 energy crisis, and one year in advance of a second energy crisis. Source: Wikipedia

How utility collaboration can cut community solar costs up to 40%

Image Credit: Clean Energy Collective

Image Credit: Clean Energy Collective

By Herman K. Trabish, Utility Dive

Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) Manager Joseph Goodman left a position in the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) SunShot program for the opportunity to show how to make community solar markets happen, he told Utility Dive in an interview.

Under Goodman’s leadership, RMI is now working with community-based organizations, rural electric cooperatives and public and investor-owned utilities to demonstrate that it is possible to deploy community solar installations at prices up to 40% lower than installations today.

Read more here.

RMI Insight Brief: Community-Scale Solar: Why Developers and Buyers Should Focus On This High-Potential Market Segment

New! Community Energy Resource Guide

Click image to download the Community Energy Resource Guide (PDF)

Click image to download the Community Energy Resource Guide (PDF)

The Rocky Mountain Institute has released a new resource guide to assist leaders and practitioners in U.S. communities with a desire to transform their energy use. This resource guide is intended to be a reference tool for ongoing community-level energy work, and to serve as a roadmap and methodology to help communities create a comprehensive energy action plan. It is designed to assist community leaders, policy makers, stakeholders, and business leaders in communities of all sizes.  

Regional Solar Deployment Handbook (PDF)
This handbook, created by the National Association of Regional Councils, is a comprehensive guide to implementing solar energy at the regional level. It identifies seven key strategies that regional councils can use to successfully drive solar adoption in their jurisdictions. Focused on regionally-specific actions, tools and case studies, this handbook seeks to be a practical resource for understanding the complexities of solar energy and learning how other regional councils have worked on solar throughout the country. Click HERE to access the handbook.

Solar Powering America By Recognizing CommunitiesSEE ALSO: Local Nebraska governments can now apply to the new “Solar Powering America by Recognizing Communities (SPARC)” program. For more information & the application link, click HERE. How you can help: Share this information with one or more community government leaders: your mayor, regional council, municipal board, community sustainability coordinator, or planning department director–and encourage them to apply if they haven’t already. Let’s put Nebraska on the Department of Energy’s “Solar Ready” map!

Solar Energy’s Emerging Role in Agriculture
Today farmers are noticing the benefits of integrating solar energy onto their farms. Solar energy allows farmers to independently meet their high energy needs, eliminate risks associated with fossil fuels, and reduce the farm’s impact on the environment. Learn about Pinehold Gardens, a farm in Milwaukee, that selected to adopt solar energy in order to reduce the farm’s carbon footprint and monthly electricity bill. Click HERE to read the case study created by the National Association of Regional Councils.

SEE ALSO: Spring Deadline for Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Grants.
Applications can be submitted anytime before the deadline. Please share this information with Nebraska farmers & rural small business owners you know. Also, rural utilities and rural electric cooperatives are typically eligible.

Four Trends Driving Profitable Climate Protection

Photo Credit: The Aspen Times

Photo Credit: The Aspen Times

By Amory R. Lovins, Chief Scientist, Rocky Mountain Institute
Published in Spark, RMI’s eNewsletter


In 2013 alone, renewable energy other than big hydropower received $254 billion of global investment; energy efficiency, $310–360 billion; and cogeneration of electricity with useful heat, about $70 billion. These three carbon-savers thus attracted about $650 billion of capital in one year. Long-term fixed-price contracts to sell new U.S. wind power and utility-scale solar power have lately averaged below $0.025 and $0.04 per kWh, respectively. Those are net of federal subsidies, but wind’s has expired, solar’s will drop by two-thirds at the end of next year, and both will still win (though not as quickly in as many places) despite fossil fuels’ larger, decades-old, permanent subsidies. Unsubsidized wind and solar will still average below $0.04 and $0.06 per kWh respectively.