Tag Archives: Tri-State Generation and Transmission

Colorado to go carbon-free

By Tim Sylvia, PV Magazine

The great state of Colorado is joining in on the renewable energy party, or at least will be soon, when Governor Jared Polis (D) signs into law SB19-236, The Colorado Public Utilities Commission sunset bill. SB19-236, which has successfully passed in the Senate as its accompanying bill did in the House, directs all utilities in the state to a goal of 80% carbon reduction by 2030, followed by 100% carbon-free electricity generation by 2050 . . . SB19-236 includes provisions allowing electric utilities to use low-cost bonds to help refinance retiring fossil fuel generating facilities, a call for distribution system planning and plans to create new workforce and community transition opportunities. Read more here.

Photo: Colorado Energy Office – Matt McClain: United Power’s Brighton Solar Farm in Colorado

Related
Climate bills make it across finish line as Colorado’s legislative session ends, Vail Daily
Senate Bill 236 directs the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, which oversees investor-owned utilities such as Xcel Energy, to consider the cost of carbon pollution when considering future power projects. It also requires the PUC to start evaluating and approving the energy plans of Tri-State Generation and Transmission, which supplies most of the state’s rural electric co-ops (although not Holy Cross Energy, which mostly gets its power from Xcel). That utility is on track to deliver 100-percent carbon-free power by 2050.

HAPPENING IN OTHER STATES 

Additional Resource
SEIA Guide to Land Leases for Solar
Guide for Local Landowners
Solar Land Lease: Considerations in Nebraska
Authors:
David Aiken – Extension Water and Agricultural Law Specialist
John Hay – Extension Educator for Bioenergy
Randy Pryor – Extension Educator
YouTube Video
Solar Farm Leases – John Hay

Previously Posted
NextEra looking into potential solar farm in northeast Nebraska, Lincoln Journal Star
NextEra, Nebraska farmers aim to build largest solar farm in the Midwest, Energy News Network

Push for renewables vexes Western power supplier

By Keriann Conroy, Perspective, High Country News

Colorado’s largest member-owned generation and transmission provider may be in trouble.
Tri-State Generation and Transmission, which provides wholesale electricity to rural
cooperatives in Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming and Nebraska, is facing increasing pressure to let go of some of its contracts and to improve its renewable portfolio. But it appears unable to change fast enough to keep up with the times.

Most of Tri-State’s power is generated from coal- and gas-fired plants or large hydroelectric dams, but it is now facing regulatory hassles and the potential exodus of customers. Rural
“distribution” cooperatives are currently waiting to see how much it would cost them to exit their contracts, while Colorado moves toward regulations requiring more renewables.
Read more here.

Photo Credit: Missy Kennedy/Flickr

Keriann Conroy is a graduate student at Western Colorado University in Gunnison, Colorado, studying democratic practices and sustainability.

Previously Posted News Stories & RMI Report

Also of Potential Interest

Iowa lawmakers can act on climate change

By Chuck Isenhart, Guest Columnist, The Gazette

Iowa Representative Chuck Isenhart, D-Dubuque, is ranking member on the House Appropriations Subcommittee for Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection.

As a state, we don’t need to reinvent any wheels. Here are just a few ideas that would jump-start some good conversations:

  • Set a state carbon-reduction goal and require public entities to make plans to do their parts;

  • Create a comprehensive soil health program that promotes farming practices that sequester carbon as well as improve farmland-soil resilience and productivity.

Read more here, including Representative Isenhart’s additional ideas on climate action.

MORE RECOMMENDED READING

Tri-State announces new 100-megawatt solar project in southern Colorado, The Denver Post. Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association is more than doubling the power it will get from solar energy with a new 100-megawatt installation about 20 miles north of Trinidad. The energy wholesaler will buy the entire output of the project over the 15-year contract. Tri-State Generation & Transmission is owned by 43 member electric cooperatives and public power districts and supplies electricity to members in New Mexico, Colorado, Nebraska and Wyoming.

Solar solution: Technology helps reduce energy costs on Indiana farm while protecting environment, Purdue University Research Foundation News. This project was awarded a Rural Energy for America Program grant by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which helped reimburse some of the farm’s initial investment. The USDA grant and federal tax incentives, along with net-metering, will produce savings that will defray the costs of the project by more than 65 percent overall.

NEW STUDY

BPA report details potential for water heaters as DR tools, American Public Power Association
A recent report from the Bonneville Power Administration identifies the potential to enhance the use of water heaters as a demand response tool. The report also found that “smart connected” water heaters could yield “significant cost savings compared to building peaking plants.” 
Additional information, including the report, is available here

Vestas reaches 100-gigawatt wind turbine installation landmark

By Anmar Frangoul, CNBC News

Vestas Photo

Danish wind energy business Vestas says it has become the first company to install 100
gigawatts (GW) of wind turbines. In an announcement Wednesday, the firm said it reached the milestone in late 2018, when it installed a V110-2.0 MW turbine at MidAmerican Energy’s Wind XI project in Iowa. The Wind XI facility is set to have a capacity of 2,000 MW and will be made up of “multiple sites in Iowa.”  Read more here.

Previously Posted

MORE GOOD NEWS FROM CITIES & STATES

RURAL ELECTRIC COOPERATIVES

Holy Cross Energy inks deal to develop 100-megawatt wind farm, offload coal plant, Real Vail

Guzman Energy Group, which helped New Mexico’s Kit Carson Electric Association begin to reach its renewable goals in 2016, is also working with the Delta-Montrose Electric Association to break away from wholesaler Tri-State Generation and Transmission, which DMEA feels isn’t moving away from fossil fuels quickly enough.

Holy Cross, meanwhile, has been held up by Xcel Energy as an example of a progressive rural coop whose members want a quicker shift to renewables and away from fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas. Minnesota-based Xcel, Colorado’s largest supplier of electricity, recently announced its goal of being totally carbon-free by 2050.

INVESTMENT NEWS

The (Western) money is all going downstream, by Christian Roselund, PV Magazine USA

The numbers given by Mercom support what we at pv magazine USA have been reporting: that solar projects are becoming accepted even by more conservative investors such as pension funds and insurance companies as a good buy, and that the money chasing these projects exceeds the available projects for sale. In fact 2018 was a record year for solar projects changing hands, with 82 projects totaling 29 GW being bought and sold.

INSPIRING VIDEO

Greta Thunberg’s speech at UN Climate Change COP24 Conference

In the words of Greta Thunberg, the 15-year-old Swede who addressed UN leaders at the December climate conference in Poland, “Once we start to act, hope is everywhere. So instead of looking for hope, look for action. Then, and only then, hope will come.”

GCEA Seeks Solar Arrays To Meet Local Energy Needs

By Christy Acuff, Crested Butte News

The Gunnison County Electric Association (GCEA) [in Colorado] is pursuing construction of two 500-kilowatt solar arrays to provide locally produced power to valley residents. The solar project fits into GCEA’s long-term goal to supply 50 percent of its power needs through renewable sources by 2030 . . . According to its contract with Tri-State Generation and Transmission Company, GCEA may self-generate only 5 percent of the total power it distributes to customers; the remaining 95 percent must be purchased from Tri-State suppliers. The planned solar array would be 2 percent of GCEA’s total power distribution, thus falling well within the mandated cap imposed by Tri-State members. The 5 percent cap has generated controversy among some of Tri-State’s 44 member co-ops throughout Colorado, New Mexico, Nebraska and Wyoming. According to cleancooperative.com, 13 of the member co-ops are at or approaching the 5 percent limit. Read more here.

Clean Cooperative’s Mission Statement
Renewable energy is now cheaper than coal, and many electric cooperatives are investing in solar, wind, and hydro projects to help keep electricity rates stable, support local economic development, and cut pollution. At the same time, electric cooperatives face unique challenges in moving from coal to clean energy. Clean Cooperative tracks the opportunities and challenges that electric cooperatives face in this energy transition.
Reports
Uncooperative: Tri-State policies are limiting New Mexico co-ops’ access to cheap solar power
Uncooperative: Tri-State policies are limiting Colorado communities from developing local renewable energy projects

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

NEW POLL
Nearly 2/3 of Americans support a solar mandate for new homes, PV Magazine

MORE INNOVATIVE INITIATIVES

Hawaii opens up existing solar installations to energy storage

SOLAR SHINGLE NEWS
Powerhouse solar shingle seeks 17.1% panel efficiency, pv magazine USA
The company’s pricing documentation listed the hardware at $2.80/W – with balance of system costs at $0.25/W and install labor at $0.25/W, totalling $3.30/W. The documentation suggests the solar shingle offsets an equivalent roofing value of $0.44/W – meaning an effective price of $2.86/W installed for a 6-kW residential solar power system, versus a national average of $3.73/W per an EnergySage report, which is higher than other estimates.

Powerhouse Installation YouTube Video – Click image to watch it.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS
Checking out “Energiewende”, by Sue Kelly, American Public Power Association Blog

Colorado co-ops consider dropping their energy provider

Written by Allen Best, Energy News Network

A cooperative that serves four Western states could soon be losing customers amid concerns it’s not moving away from coal quickly enough. Colorado-based Tri-State Generation & Transmission boasts of having the most solar generation of any G&T in the United States. But whether it’s shifting to renewables quickly enough from its coal-heavy portfolio — and flexible enough to accommodate locally-generated electricity — has become a central issue with several of the 43 member cooperatives . . . Tri-State’s 43 member cooperatives collectively deliver electricity to [615,000 metered members/customers throughout] 200,000 square miles in New Mexico, Colorado, Nebraska and Wyoming. Click here to read more.

Tri-State’s Nebraska Member Cooperatives

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

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