Tag Archives: Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association

Banks Are Finally Starting to Account for Climate Change Risk

By Saijel Kishan, Bloomberg/Quint

Behind the scenes at some of the world’s biggest banks, small teams of employees are busy trying to calculate what might prove to be one of the most important numbers any financial institution will ever disclose: how much the assets on their balance sheet are contributing to global warming. Read more here.

Flickr Photo

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

GLOBAL NEWS

Entrepreneur Jigar Shah reflects on clean energy finance, the importance of plain speaking

By Sarah Golden, GreenBiz

If you’ve heard Jigar Shah talk, it won’t surprise you that he has a couple opinions about a couple things. And his track record shows he might be onto something. The co-founder of Generate Capital has been following and shaping the clean energy sector for decades. His weapon of choice: financial mechanisms to open up new clean energy options.

Among Shah’s claim to fame is founding SunEdison in 2003, where he designed the first no-money-down solar contract, and heading up Richard Branson’s Carbon War Room to support entrepreneurs working on climate solutions. He’s also shot into earned podcast fame with his no-nonsense style on “The Energy Gang.” I had a chance to chat with Jigar and talk about his communication style, his inspiration and what the private sector can do to leverage clean energy more and better. Continue reading here.

Additional Viewpoints

News From Other States

Tri-State

Into the fray, The Durango Telegraph
Over the past several years, rural electric cooperatives like La Plata Electric Association, which are also members of Tri-State Generation and Transmission, have been looking for ways to increase the amount of renewable energy they can produce locally. However, under their contracts with Tri-State, that local energy production has been limited to just 5 percent of the total power they use. This has caused some rural coops to consider other options.

Tri-State Map
Tri-State’s 43 member distribution systems (18 in Colorado, 11 in New Mexico, 8 in Wyoming and 6 in western Nebraska) directly supply electricity to rural residences, farms and ranches, cities, towns and suburban communities, as well as large and small commercial businesses and industries. Combined, they serve more than 1 million consumers in nearly 200,000-square-mile area. Nebraska Members

Cooperatives are democratic organizations governed by their members who actively participate by making decisions through voting. Tri-State’s board of directors is made up of one representative from each of its 43 member distribution systems, and each of its members function under a similar structure.

How to Maintain Hope in the Face of Climate Catastrophe

Written by Katie O’Reilly, Sierra Magazine

In the mid-1980s, author Barry Lopez familiarized the masses with the perils that creatures and ecosystems in the Far North are facing in his best-selling Arctic Dreams. Almost immediately after it won the National Book Award, Lopez outlined another, meatier book that would take readers back to the Canadian Arctic, and to five other far-flung places, too: the Galapagos, Kenya, Australia, the Antarctic, and the Oregon coast the author calls home. Lopez knew the project would likely require decades’ worth of gained perspective; the idea was to immerse himself in distinctive parts of the world to see what he could learn about humanity’s deepest triumphs, failures, and threats to itself. “For 25 years, the book was working on me,” Lopez, now 74, told Sierra. “For five, I worked on it.”

The answers he spent 30 years gathering fill more than 500 pages in Horizon (Knopf, 2019), a semi-autobiographical epic that hit bookshelves just as awareness of global environmental and existential crises seemed to go mainstream. In the book, Lopez artfully reconstructs his experiences, mining their accumulated wisdom, and revealing uplifting glimmers of hope. An ambitious meditation on the human condition, as well as humanity’s plight, Horizon is as beautiful as it is bleak. Continue reading here.

More on Climate

  • Global Heat Waves Point to Intensifying Global Climate Crisis, Sierra Magazine
  • Fired up about fighting climate change, The Herald-Palladium
    Laura Goos, a St. Joseph city commissioner, attended the Climate Reality Leadership Corps’ training, led by former Vice President Al Gore, earlier this month in Minneapolis. She is promoting ideas for slowing and reversing climate change, from energy efficiency to reusing and recycling materials. As part of her leadership plan, Goos will be promoting energy efficiency at Whirlpool Corp., where she is the senior human resources manager. She also plans to report on the conference to her fellow commissioners. “If everyone does 10 little things, it adds up over time,” Goos said. Learn more about the Climate Reality Project here.

Wind Energy & Wildlife Conservation

New research on curtailment solutions: Balancing conservation and carbon reduction, Into the Wind, AWEA Blog

Local Opinion

Community solar great for Nebraska. Letter written by Kat Woerner and Sofia Gavia, Lincoln Journal Star

Energy Storage

Electric Vehicles

6 electric aviation companies to watch, GreenBiz 

Tri-State

Fearing Tri-State could duck clean-energy goals, Colorado utilities commission files unprecedented protest, The Colorado Sun. For the first time in at least 25 years, state regulators move to stop a migration, saying the interstate power provider has too much unfinished business here.

Additional Recommended Reading

Tri-State, under pressure from its member co-ops to change or fall behind, is shifting to renewable energy

Giant power provider on the verge of deal with departing utility says it will shutter coal-fired plant in Nucla two years early as it retools carbon-emissions goals.

By Mark Jaffe, The Colorado Sun

Faced with renewable energy generation that undercuts the cost of power from coal-fired plants and new laws in Colorado and New Mexico setting high clean energy goals, Tri-State is being pushed by political and market forces to change or fall behind. “Our industry is facing significant challenges and we are positioning ourselves not only meet those challenges, but to leverage those opportunities for our membership,” Tri-State spokesman Lee Boughey said.

Mark Dyson, a principal at Rocky Mountain Institute and author of the study on Tri-State’s coal-fired plants, said in an email that the association’s announcement “suggests Tri-State is beginning to acknowledge the broad utility industry consensus that taking major steps toward a low-carbon energy future can be, in fact, more affordable than continuing with business-as-usual. The implementation details, when they are available, will tell how much of this opportunity they intend to pursue,” Dyson said. Read more here.

National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s Renewable Energy Data

Solar Energy 

Wind Energy

563 cooperatives in 36 states utilize wind as a source of power.
Nebraska ranks 5th among these states, with 30 cooperatives utilizing wind energy, behind Minnesota (44), Missouri (41, Indiana (38), and Iowa (31).

Hydro Power

727 cooperatives in 43 states utilize hydro power.
Nebraska is 6th among these states, with 30 cooperatives utilizing hydro power, behind
Minnesota (44), Texas (43), Georgia (42), Missouri (41), and Iowa (35).

Heat Recovery

Thermal capture technologies, including geothermal technologies, use heat to generate power. Geothermal power capturing the earth’s heat is cost-effective, reliable and available 24/7. Similar technology can also be used to recover heat that otherwise would have gone to waste from industrial processes, such as exhaust from natural gas pipeline compressors.

139 cooperatives in 10 states utilize heat recovery. Nebraska is 9th, with 6 cooperatives utilizing heat recovery.

Additional Resources

SEIA Leads National Effort to Extend the ITC: Nearly 1,000 Solar Companies Rally Behind Proven, Bipartisan Investment Tax Credit

SEIA News Release

Nearly 1,000 companies from across the U.S. solar industry supply chain sent a letter to Congress calling for the extension of the Section 48 and Section 25D solar investment tax credits (ITC). The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) is leading a national coalition to extend the ITC, one of the most successful clean energy tax policies ever created. The ITC was passed by a Republican-controlled Congress in the 2005 Energy Policy Act and enacted by George W. Bush. It was extended in 2015 with bipartisan support.

“If you want to show a commitment to addressing climate change, you extend the solar ITC,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association. “Supporting this proven policy is the first clear victory that lawmakers can deliver to Americans on climate change. As we debate long-term solutions, now is not the time to abandon the single most successful policy on the books to deploy clean energy in the near-term.” Read more here.

ADDITIONAL RENEWABLE ENERGY AND STORAGE NEWS

SOLAR SCHOOLS NEWS

GREEN TRANSPORTATION

FEATURED REGENERATIVE AGRICULTURE RESOURCE

Regenerative Organic Agriculture and Climate Change: A Down-to-Earth Solution to Global Warming, Rodale Institute White Paper

MORE ON TRI-STATE 

Tri-State announces ‘transformative’ plan to provide cleaner, cheaper power, Utility Dive

Commentary: Rural Power Co-Ops ‘Stranded In Coal’

By Erik Hatlestad and Liz Veazey, Daily Yonder

Rural electric cooperatives’ loyalty to coal is holding rural America back. That’s according to a new report authored by CURE (Clean Up the River Environment), We Own It, and the Center for Rural Affairs.

During the 1970s, most rural electric cooperatives made significant investments to build coal-burning power plants. At the time, the coal investment strategy made in the interest of providing low-cost electricity to their member-owners. Co-ops took on massive amounts of debt, mostly from the federal government. One year a loan to Basin Electric (a consortium of cooperatives that serves much of the Northern Great Plains) for a coal plant took up almost the entire annual budget for loans from the USDA’s Rural Utility Service. Continue reading here.

Report’s Authors
Erik Hatlestad is director of the Energy Democracy Program at CURE (Clean Up the River Environment), Liz Veazey is network director of We Own It, and Katie Rock is a policy associate at the Center for Rural Affairs.

Upcoming Webinar
Erik Hatlestad and Liz Veazey will host a webinar about their report on Monday, June 24, at noon Central. Register here.

Additional Recommended Reading

  • NM co-op started something big in electricity markets, Albuquerque Journal, guest column by Greg Brophy, Colorado Director, The Western Way
    According to Standard & Poor’s, Tri-State’s debt load has risen sharply over the past decade from $1.7 billion to more than $3 billion. SEC filings show the largest of those loans is a $2.8 billion “master indenture,” which imposes conditions on how much Tri-State charges for wholesale electricity. In short, Tri-State must keep rates high enough to cover payments on billions of dollars of debt. This is critically important. Tri-State was created in the 1950s by rural cooperatives to provide cheaper sources of wholesale electricity, not more expensive sources. But even Tri-State concedes that “cheaper prices are now available elsewhere.”
  • Co-op elections show strengthening interest in electrical transition, by Allen Best, Mountain Town News
  • Previously Posted: ‘Stranded costs’ mount as coal vanishes from the grid

SUNDA RESOURCES FOR RURAL ELECTRIC COOPERATIVES
The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s innovative SUNDA Project helps rural electric cooperatives nationwide to accelerate utility solar. SUNDA stands for “Solar Utility Network Deployment Acceleration.”

Reports examine the impacts of Tri-State’s high wholesale power costs

By Joe Smyth, Clean Cooperative

Two reports this month provide new details about the impacts of the high wholesale power costs that Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association charges electric cooperatives in Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming and Nebraska. One of the reports, “How Kit Carson Electric Engineered a Cost-Effective Coal Exit,” was published by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA . . . Another report, “Rural Energy at a Crossroads: Electric Cooperatives Trapped in System Causing High Energy Costs,” was published earlier this month by The Western Way, a nonprofit “urging Western conservative leaders to deliver efficient, pro-market solutions to environmental and conservation challenges.”
Read more here.

Image Credit: Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association

Clean Cooperative’s Recommended Reading

Related

Mountain Town News: Utility directors in Colorado calculate changes as prices drop, energy concerns rise, by Allen Best, Summit Daily News

Additional Recommended Reading

One third of the world’s power now comes from renewable energy

By Perry Miller, Inhabitat

After years of hard work and dedication, a third of the power generated around the world is now linked to renewable energy. The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) just released new data that shows impressive growth in both wind and solar energy, which has contributed to the changes in energy sources around the globe. Read more here.

Photo posted by Inhabitat via IRENA.

ALSO IN THE NEWS – PLUS A FEATURED VIDEO

OP-ED 

You can’t kill the solar industry — and all attempts just make us stronger, by Tony Clifford, Chief Development Officer of Standard Solar, PV Magazine 

Illinois is beginning to build a robust solar industry in the wake of passing its Future Energy Jobs Act of 2016, and they’re in the process of following it up with a Clean Energy Jobs Act this year. And they’re not the only Midwestern state to join the Solar Revolution. Minnesota is the birthplace of the best community solar program in the nation, and Michigan is (albeit slowly) bringing its solar policies into the 21st century.

Electric cooperatives in Colorado push for change at Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association

By Joe Smyth, Clean Cooperative

Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association is one of the largest G&Ts in the country, delivering power to 43 electric cooperatives in Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming, and Nebraska. Like many other G&Ts, most of the power that Tri-State generates comes from coal fired power plants . . . Tri-State’s largest member co-op, United Power, has proposed changes to Tri-State’s bylaws to give co-ops more flexible contract options, so they can purchase power from other providers and pursue more local renewable energy projects. United Power has been discussing its proposal with other Tri-State member co-ops, warning that Tri-State policies are turning away large customers.

United Power built several solar projects, and in 2017 reached the limit on local energy development imposed by Tri-State. So United shifted its strategy to energy storage projects, and installed a 4 megawatt Tesla Powerpack, now the largest battery in Colorado. But Tri-State pushed back, and last year changed its policies to discourage its member co-ops from pursuing energy storage projects. Read the entire article here.

Photo: United Power’s Battery Storage Project. YouTube Video Joe Smyth includes in his article:

Working Toward A Renewable Energy Future in Rural CO

Julesberg Advocate

MEAN projects are increasing the percentage of our energy mix that comes from coal generation through 2030. A Gunnison based research organization, Sustainable Development Strategies Group (SDSG), has identified growing concern in MEAN’s service communities about this reliance on coal. This spurred a study of MEAN’s system in Colorado, and whether their policies encourage or inhibit renewable energy generation at the local level. SDSG’s study is now public.

Recommendations from the study, A Renewable Energy Future For Colorado Communities Served by MEAN, include “that MEAN move away from its policy currently limiting municipal generation to a maximum of 2% of their energy requirement.” Read more here.

Related Article: Lights shined on city power, by Kate Gienapp, Gunnison Country Times

About MEAN
The Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska (MEAN) is the not-for-profit wholesale electricity supply organization of NMPP Energy. Created in 1981, MEAN provides cost-based power supply, transmission and related services to 69 participating communities in four states: Colorado, Iowa, Nebraska and Wyoming. MEAN members/participants

More Colorado News
Ski industry climate change efforts shift to electric utilities and their regulators, Clean Cooperative
The ski industry is increasingly focusing its sustainability efforts on decarbonizing the electric grid, by engaging with their power suppliers, regulators, and state policymakers. In the latest move, a group of Colorado ski resorts are supporting Delta-Montrose Electric Association’s efforts to end its contract with Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association and pursue more renewable energy.

Previously Posted
Colorado co-op seeks exit from coal-heavy Tri-State to pursue renewables, Utility Dive
Tri-State is a generation and transmission provider that supplies power to more than 40 rural cooperatives across Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico and Wyoming. While it has increased renewable energy in recent years, coal is still its largest source of electricity — around half its capacity
— and member co-ops are required to purchase all but 5% of their power from the company.

Flickr Photo