Tri-State considers new plant

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For the past year, Tri-State Generation and Transmission has been investigating ways to generate more power.

The company has decided it will build a new plant in southeastern Colorado or contract power from an existing plant, Tri-State spokesman Jim Van Someren said.

The company could make a final decision by early summer, he said.

"Right now, our baseload generating facilities are fully committed, and our member loads are continuing to grow at about 4 percent annually," Tri-State Executive Vice President J.M. Shafer said during the company's annual meeting.

No major projects are plan-ned for the Craig Power Station this year, Van Someren said. But Tri-State will power down the plant's third unit so it can be dismantled and thoroughly cleaned. Unit Three will be out of service for about six weeks.

Tri-State will bring some contractors in for the project, but not nearly as many as were in Craig when the company upgraded its pollution controls.

The upgrade was completed during the past two years at a cost of $121 million.

Tri-State could have the opportunity this year to up-grade its generator at the Craig station, Van Someren said. The upgrade would increase the generator's output by 10 megawatts.

In 2004, Tri-State delivered 12 million megawatt-hours of electricity to its 44 member distribution cooperatives in Colorado, New Mexico, Nebraska and Wyoming. Including off-system energy sales, the company sold 15.2 million megawatt-hours.

If Tri-State builds a new plant, it would be a coal-fired station, Van Someren said. The company chose southeast Colorado as the plant site primarily for its infrastructure.

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