Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association announces it will submit a “preferred scenario” to reduce emissions during Thursday press conference
Tri-State must submit its ERP to the state regulators for approval, as the association seeks to dramatically increase its renewable resources and reduce emissions.
Holding a press conference Thursday with Colorado Governor Jared Polis, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association annnounced that it will be submitting a “preferred scenario” to reduce emissions associated with its wholesale electricity sales in Colorado by 80% by 2030.
With the support from its members and board of directors, Tri-State says it will put forward the preferred scenario in its Electric Resource Plan (ERP), which will be filed with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) on Dec. 1.
Additionally, Tri-State must submit its ERP to the state regulators for approval, as the association seeks to dramatically increase its renewable resources and reduce emissions.
“We’re committed to serving our members and doing our part to help Colorado meet its carbon reduction goals,” said Duane Highley, Tri-State CEO.
“Our laser focus on a swift transition to clean, renewable energy has been motivated by the opportunity to grow good-paying jobs, expand economic opportunity, save customers money, and do our part on addressing climate and making our air cleaner,” said Gov. Polis during Thursday’s press conference. “This announcement marks the latest on-the-ground example of these broad benefits including an 8% green energy dividend wholesale rate reduction, and I commend the entire Tri-State team for their leadership.”
Tri-State added that it recognizes that its ERP filing, including its preferred scenario, must be transparent, equitable, enforceable and verifiable, and that it must be consistent with the CPUC’s existing resource plan authority.
While Tri-State’s wholesale rates are regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), federal regulation does not affect the CPUC’s resource planning authority, according to the association.
“We look forward to engaging with stakeholders and the Colorado commission in evaluating our various scenarios,” Highley said. “While our ERP scenario will not be easy to achieve, we are optimistic that by working together and making timely decisions, like by pursuing a regional transmission organization, we can overcome the challenges we will face in achieving an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions on behalf of our members.”
SPP membership to be evaluated by five regional power providers
Aside from the “preferred scenario” announcement Thursday, Tri-State and other regional power providers announced that they have sent letters committing to evaluate the expansion of the Southwest Power Pool’s regional transmission organization (RTO) into the West.
SPP is a non-profit RTO corporation based in Little Rock, Ark., that works to ensure reliable supplies of power, adequate transmission infrastructure and competitive wholesale electric prices for its members.
Tri-State and four other regional utilities and power providers will study participation in a western expansion of the SPP RTO, including Basin Electric Power Cooperative, Deseret Power Electric Cooperative, the Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska (MEAN) and the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA).
“Tri-State’s participation in a Western Interconnect RTO is essential to advance our members’ reliability, affordability and clean energy goals,” Highley said. “With our western utility peers, we will take the time necessary to evaluate the expansion of SPP’s RTO into the West. While the issues are complex, we remain optimistic that together we are on a path that can capture the full benefits of an organized market in the West.”
There are many benefits of a full RTO in the region, Tri-State says. Regional transmission planning and cost allocation could provide for much needed, new regional transmission infrastructure, which is a key to integrating new renewable resources, Tri-State noted. A common tariff that applies the same rules across an entire footprint eliminates “pancaked” transmission rates and losses, and provides further efficiencies through common generation interconnection standards and practices.
Connecting to the West’s abundant solar capacity, coupled with the East’s abundant wind capacity, creates an opportunity in the Rocky Mountain region to facilitate efficient transfer of additional generating resources across these regions, and offers opportunities for greater solar resource development within Tri-State’s footprint.
Additionally, as a cooperative, Tri-State highly values opportunities for member engagement through SPP’s independent board and direct membership participation.
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