Tag Archives: Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association

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


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.



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

Iberdrola Renewables Announces Wind Power Agreement with Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association

Photo: Business Wire

Photo: Business Wire

PORTLAND, Ore.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Iberdrola Renewables today announced a 25-year contract to supply Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, Inc. (Tri-State) – a wholesale electric power supplier owned by 44 electric cooperatives and public power districts across Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico and Wyoming – with renewable energy from the planned Twin Buttes II Wind Project.

Continue reading.

The U.S. Department of Energy designated Tri-State as 2015 Wind Cooperative of the Year.

Iberdrola USA, headquartered in Portland, Oregon is an “energy pioneer with the largest renewable asset base of any company in the world.”

Portland’s largest renewable energy developer inks huge 76 MW wind dealby Wendy Culverwell, Portland Business Journal

Rural Electric Cooperatives – Leaders in the Growth of Renewable Energy

A report prepared by Helen Deffenbacher

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), with offices in Arlington, Virginia and Lincoln, Nebraska, lists over 900 cooperatives in its membership directory.

Private, not-for-profit, and member-owned, many have served rural communities for decades, some dating back to the 1930’s and the New Deal Era, or even before. They are the largest electric utility network in America, providing service to approximately 42 million people in 47 states.

Rural electric cooperatives are governed by their consumers (known as consumer-members), and their governing principles are: voluntary and open membership; democratic member control; members’ economic participation; autonomy and independence; education, training and information; cooperation among cooperatives; and concern for community.

The following information, posted on NRECA’s website, further outlines what rural electric cooperatives are all about:

•    Electric cooperatives support appropriate federal funding for renewable energy research and development, including incentives to fully utilize domestic resources that are available to all segments of the industry on an equitable basis, including Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (CREBs).
•    Electric cooperatives oppose mandates on electric utilities if they undermine local board control of power supply decision-making, threaten system reliability, or unduly raise the cost of electricity for members.
•    Electric cooperatives believe that electric power from federally owned hydroelectric projects are especially important sources of affordable electricity for electric co-ops.

Just as rural electric cooperatives have changed the energy landscape over previous decades, they are continuing to play that role today in a major way, expanding options for their member-consumers to include renewable energy and contributing to its rapid deployment.

Over the last five years there has been tremendous growth among rural cooperatives in renewable energy development. Currently, over 90% offer their member-consumers one or more renewable energy options: wind, solar, geothermal, hydropower, biomass, and manure methane.

There are 34 rural electric cooperatives in Nebraska listed in NRECA’s Membership Directory. According to the organization’s latest update, all but five of them now include renewable energy options in their portfolios, primarily hydropower and wind. Six provide solar energy as a choice for their member-consumers. (See Resources, below, to access this information).

One major contributing factor to the growth of renewable energy among rural electric cooperatives is the Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (CREB) mentioned earlier. The IRS has approved $900 million in Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (CREB) allocations for cooperatives’ renewable energy development.

A second contributing factor is simple and practical. With the costs of fossil fuels continuing to rise, renewable sources of energy provide cooperatives near and long-term price stability.

A third factor is that the majority of cooperatives, judging by NREA’s statistics, have apparently concluded that it’s the right thing to do for their communities. Rural electric cooperatives have a long history of investment in the common good of their communities. “Concern for community,” as mentioned earlier, is one of the seven principles informing and guiding rural electric cooperatives’ decisions and actions. Wind, solar, and other renewable sources of energy are bringing economic development to rural communities across America, creating jobs, and further empowering or revitalizing local economies.

A fourth factor that’s helping to transform the energy landscape in our rural communities has to do with another of the seven principles mentioned earlier, ”cooperation among cooperatives.” Information sharing creates excitement and interest in renewable energy, and collaboration among cooperatives contributes to a community’s success in planning and developing it.

The old and now trite saying, “It takes a village . . . “ doesn’t apply here. It takes many villages, rural and urban, and millions of people working together to transform the energy landscape in our nation. That transformation, of course, is occurring now in communities all across America, thanks in large measure to networks like the NRECA and many, many others.


NRECA’s website: http://www.nreca.coop

The search feature included with the interactive map posted at the web address, below, provides access to information and links to each of the rural electric cooperatives in our state that have renewables in their portfolios:

NRECA’s Membership Directory is available at the link, below. Select “country” and then “state” to access a list of Nebraska Rural Electric Cooperatives:

Historic Hydros, by Charlie Powell, Network Magazine, a quarterly publication that tells the stories of the people and communities of Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association. Tri-State is a not-for profit wholesale energy supplier owned by 44 cooperatives that it serves in Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico and Wyoming. Renewable energy currently comprises 15% of Tri-State’s energy portfolio, including: solar, wind, federal hydro, small hydro, and biomass:

Cooperatives in the news:

The Solar Electric Power Association recently recognized two cooperatives for achieving highest honors: www.nreca.coop/co-ops-win-top-solar-awards/
Frytown, Iowa, co-op strives to be leader in harnessing solar power, The Associated Press  http://www.omaha.com/article/20131111/NEWS/131119858