Tri-State member Delta-Montrose Electric Association (DMEA) Energy Services exemplifies the cooperative spirit of helping to improve the communities it serves by facilitating the replacement of current street lights with LEDs. It’s difficult to come up with any aspect of street lighting that isn’t improved when old High-pressure Sodium (HPS) or Mercury-Vapor lights are replaced with LEDs. LEDs are more reliable, require far less maintenance which reduces roadside risks during repairs, last substantially longer, provide higher quality light and use about half the energy of their predecessors. Read about DMEA’s two pilot projects.
Cooperatives are owned by the people they serve which sets them apart from other electric utilities. Tri-State and its member systems operate according to a core set of principles along with the cooperative purpose of improving quality of life for their member owners. Read about the seven cooperative principles.
Electric cooperatives often strive to strengthen the bonds with their members and the communities they serve. Palmetto Electric Cooperative in Hardeeville, S.C., is no exception as it implemented Operation Round Up®, a program that gives members the option of having their bills rounded up to the nearest dollar every month, with those extra few cents going to benefit people in need within the co-op’s service territory. This year the program celebrates 25 years of positive change. Read more.
Basin Electric Power Cooperative, of which Tri-State is a Class A member and a partner in power production at Laramie River Station, recently announced that it will be adding 300 megawatts of wind power to its portfolio through power purchase agreements with two wind projects in North Dakota.
“As we develop plans to meet our members’ energy needs, we have not discounted any options that will help keep our member rates low,” said Paul Sukut, Basin Electric CEO and general manager. “These additional wind purchase opportunities fit nicely into our existing generation portfolio.”
The two projects, being led by a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources, LLC and Tradewind Energy, are scheduled to be complete by the end of 2015 and the end of 2016, respectively. Additional information about the agreements can be found on the Basin Electric Power Cooperative website.
Tri-State G&T and its Touchstone Energy member cooperatives have supported the National Western Stock Show (NWSS), which runs Jan. 10 – 25 in Denver, Colo., for the last 17 years. The relationship between the NWSS participants and Tri-State’s electric cooperative members thrives because of the electricity the co-ops provide to rural America. Many of the livestock exhibitors and rodeo contestants participating in the NWSS live in rural America, and either receive their power from, or work for, a Tri-State member co-op.
One example of a connection between the NWSS and Tri-State’s electric co-ops can be traced to Bill Midcap, who serves on the board of directors for Morgan County REA, one of Tri-State’s co-op members, and is president of the board for the Colorado Rural Electric Association (CREA). Midcap has strong connections to the NWSS through his grandchildren’s participation.
Kolby, Midcap’s 13-year-old grandson, has shown steers in the NWSS for the last three years. Kolby’s 10-year-old sister, Bradie, will present steers for the second year in a row this year and his brother, Casey, age 8, will show for the first time in the open prospect heifer classification. The children’s family lives in Wray, Colo., and their home’s electricity is supplied by Y-W Electric Association, a Tri-State member co-op.
Another NWSS connection will be evident as plenty of Highline Electric Association (HEA) employees cheer on one of their own as he performs at the Jan. 12 rodeo. Dan Kafka, the supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA)/telecom supervisor at HEA, a Tri-State co-op, has the honor of singing the National Anthem that night with his barbershop quartet, Equally Delinquent. Equally Delinquent is registered with the Rocky Mountain District of the Barbershop Harmony Society and their home chorus is the Cowboy Capital Chorus in Ogallala, Neb.
Chimney Rock PPD, another Tri-State member, touts its connection to the NWSS as its consumer Riley Pruitt will compete in calf roping during two Pro Rodeos on Jan. 24 in the tie-down roping events. Pruitt lives in Gehring, Neb. and lives within Chimney Rock PPD’s service territory.
Tri-State congratulates all exhibitors and competitors in the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo.
Beginning in 2015, Tri-State has contracted for the output from its first hydroelectric resource from Wyoming – adding to its growing renewable portfolio that now comprises approximately 20 percent of the energy that the association provides to its 44 member systems. Completed in 1983, the Garland Canal Hydroelectric Project is located in northwest Wyoming, within the service territory of Tri-State member, Garland Light & Power (Powell, Wyo.). The 2.9-megawatt hydroelectric plant is owned and operated by the Shoshone Irrigation District, which provides water to approximately 1,200 farmers and ranchers over about 36,000 acres of farmland near Powell. It is a part of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s (USBR) Shoshone Project, which is comprised of a series of dams that divert water from the Shoshone River into multiple irrigation canals that serve the project.
The generating plant is sited on the Garland Canal, at a point near the town of Ralston. The canal drops about 50 feet in elevation over a distance of less than half a mile through the Ralston Chute, after which, the rushing water flows through the powerhouse to generate electricity. The turbine/generator produces an average annual output of 10 million kilowatt-hours. The plant was originally financed for $1.5 million under a U.S. Department of Energy grant as a small-scale hydroelectric power demonstration project.
Water for the project originates from the USBR’s 646,000-acre-feet Buffalo Bill Reservoir, located west of Cody, Wyo. The availability of this large water resource provides a stable, drought-resistant water supply to the Garland Canal Hydroelectric Project.
Tri-State’s 10-year contract to purchase the project output and associated environmental attributes began on Jan. 1, however, as with most irrigation-related projects, hydro-generation will occur between mid-April and mid-October, according to Susan Hunter, Tri-State’s business development manager for energy resources.
Tri-State G&T is proud to announce that one of its member systems, San Miguel Power Association (SMPA), shared its financially solid year with its consumer members as it returned $1 million of surplus revenues from 2014. This refund, called the Christmas Credit, is just one example of the advantage of being a part of an electric cooperative.
If you are considering purchasing an electric vehicle (EV), several states are making it easier for you to drive it. Many states are offering incentives for developing infrastructure to support EVs as the market share of plug-in and hybrid electric EVs grows. Washington and Oregon first established such initiatives in 2008, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration and as a result fast chargers are now available every 25 to 50 miles along the stretch of Interstate 5 running through the state. Tax credits and/or incentives are now offered in states including Arizona, Louisiana, Maryland, Oklahoma and New York.
The new LED ball is lit year round and uses just 12% of the electricity originally needed when it used halogen lamps. Keep Electricity Affordable (KEA) sums up the statistics of electricity usage during the holidays with this infographic.
Power and the electric cooperatives across the West are working hard to make your holidays sparkle. Learn more about Power at PowerWorksForYou.coop.
Instead of the 12 gifts of Christmas, we bring you 12 industry trends to ring in the new year. As featured in Rural Electric (RE) Magazine, NRECA has identified twelve trends for the industry that are changing the way business is done. From cyber security, to fast-response generation, to consumer-centric shifts changing interactions with members, understanding these trends will be essential for future co-op success. Read about these trends in RE Magazine’s cover story.
A new online resource from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) tracks how energy production has changed, state by state, over the past 20 years. “What is perhaps most compelling about this visualization is the way we see energy production growing in nearly every field over the last two decades,” DOE said. “Between 1993 and 2012 total U.S. energy production has increased from 68 quadrillion Btu to 79 quadrillion Btu, a growth of 11 quadrillion Btu or 16 percent.” Find out more at energy.com.
This Keep Electricity Affordable infographic provides an interesting look at how electricity usage spikes during the holidays. See Keep Electricity Affordable’s website for more interesting facts.
One million comments and counting. That’s the mark set by electric co-ops concerned that EPA’s carbon dioxide rule will increase costs and impair grid reliability. [Read more from NRECA]
Tri-State member, San Luis Valley Rural Electric Cooperative (Monte Vista, Colo.), recently held a launch event at its headquarters offices in Monte Vista to introduce the co-op’s new fiber optic telecommunications network that will provide high-speed Internet and telephone service to its members across the San Luis Valley.
The new system, called Ciello, an L.L.C. company that is owned and operated by the cooperative, has been stringing fiber on its distribution system for about 15 months and has completed more than half of the 300-mile network of the planned backbone telecommunications system, according to Loren Howard, manager of the southern Colorado electric co-op.
Last summer, the co-op launched a small pilot project in a residential area about three miles from the co-op offices with a goal of hooking up about a dozen homes to demonstrate the new system. During the next few months the co-op will begin offering Internet packages to residents of Creede, Colo.
Howard explained that soon, in addition to Internet service, the Ciello system will add phone service to the telecommunications packages that will be offered to its members.
“In addition to providing our members with fast, reliable Internet service, which has not been available to many of our members in the valley, we are offering very competitive pricing that compares favorably to what people are paying in Denver and Colorado Springs,” said the co-op manager
.On Nov. 20, the co-op held a Ciello launch event that attracted nearly 100 co-op consumers to the co-op offices. Visitors at the launch party were treated to buffet luncheon, prizes and even a guest appearance from Tri-State’s Power, the symbol of the many ways that consumer-owned power brings comfort, convenience and productivity to our daily lives.
Guests at this event were also encouraged to visit with co-op staff on hand to demonstrate and explain the new fiber optic network and even take the new high-speed system on a little “test drive” on one of the co-op’s computer stations.
Owned and operated by Tri-State’s subsidiary Western Fuels-Colorado, the Colowyo Mine encompasses a vast tract of property that spans over nearly 140,000 acres of land.
This land supports not only one of Colorado’s largest surface coal mines, but also vast tracts of undisturbed land, abundant natural resources, diverse wildlife and a number of farming and ranching operations that are currently leasing land from the mine.
So, it comes as no surprise that as good stewards of the land and strong supporters of their surrounding communities, the mine staff has a long history of helping to sponsor and support youth recreation programs on mine property.
“Over the years, working with the Colorado Parks & Wildlife (CPW) staff and our land lessees, we have supported multiple supervised youth hunts on our property as well as other recreational events such as CPW’s “Cast and Blast” program, where local kids are given the opportunity to go fly fishing and trap shooting on Colowyo’s mine property,” said Tonia Folks, land specialist at the western Colorado mine.
In the latest sponsored youth hunt, held on mine property over the weekend of Oct 24-26, up to 10 young hunters enjoyed a successful outing in search of cow elk.
In late September, three local teens were selected to participate in the first mentored waterfowl hunt on mine property. “Colowyo Mine and lessee Duke Duzik were gracious enough to offer us access to the Big Bottom property,“ said District Wildlife Officer Evan Jones in a recent Craig Daily Press article. “In addition, the generosity of my fellow officers and the Moffat County Youth 4-H shooting program all helped to provide these kids with an experience they will remember for the rest of their lives,” he added.
These supervised hunts are part of CPW’s Hunter Outreach Program, an ongoing effort to encourage women and youths to head outdoors and enjoy the state’s abundant natural resources.
“The next set of youth hunting adventures on mine property will be in December, when the CPW staff will assist local youths in harvesting cow elk,” said Folks.
Colowyo Mine is one of two fuel suppliers to Tri-State’s Craig Station. The mining operation employs about 220 people and is located approximately 10 miles north of Meeker, Colo.
Tri-State is proud to recognize employees who have recently earned a certification, completed a course or achieved a career milestone.
Gigi Dennis, senior manager of external affairs, was recently honored as a “Top Woman in Energy” by the Denver Business Journal.
Recently, the Denver Business Journal and Women in Energy, Inc., named Gigi Dennis, senior manager of external affairs, among their 2014 inaugural class of “Top Women in Energy.”
Dennis was honored, along with 40 other leaders in the energy industry at a private reception held on Oct. 29, at the Brown Palace Hotel in Denver.
“We are proud to recognize your accomplishments and help further the engagement of more women in leadership and mentoring positions in the Colorado energy industry for years to come,” said Pete Casillas, publisher of the Denver Business Journal.
The “Top Women in Energy” were also recently featured in a special section that was published in the Denver Business Journal.
Women in Energy is a Denver-based networking group for women involved in the energy industry in any capacity. The group meets monthly to discuss and stay current on the latest issues in the energy industry.
In addition to her involvement in Women in Energy, the Tri-State senior manager is also a board member on Food Bank of the Rockies, the Foundation for Community Colleges and the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry.
A variety of industries employ the co-op model, including credit unions, dairy operations, health care, child care, agriculture, housing and electricity. The unifying values that each of these businesses share can be summed up in the seven cooperative principles: voluntary and open membership; democratic member control; members’ economic participation; autonomy and independence; education, training and information; cooperation among cooperatives; and concern for community.
This year, several co-ops are taking their celebration to social media with the #CoopMonth hashtag. Some are offering deals, highlighting accomplishments and putting out the call for community involvement. While co-op month is technically over at the end of October, the positive community involvement promoted by co-ops lasts all year long.
Observed every October since 1930, co-op month is a time to celebrate the power of working together. With more than 900 electric cooperatives, public utility districts and public power districts serving 42 million people in 47 states, the electric power industry has a lot to celebrate.
Although the line crews of electric co-ops are well trained and always ready to quickly respond in any emergency to restore power and do whatever is necessary keep their consumers safe, Tri-State member Poudre Valley REA’s (Fort Collins, Colo.) employees’ skills as first responders have really been put to the test over the past couple of years. A little over a year after the floods and two years after the High Park Fire, the memories of the hard work put into restoring power during the disasters will never be forgotten by the co-op and by the communities that they serve. [Read more]
If climbing transmission towers for a living sounds daunting then consider the adrenaline rush that must factor into the job of crews that rely on a specially designed, high altitude helicopter that dangles them above the nearly inaccessible (by road) mountainous terrain to reach the transmission line towers of a Tri-State line near scenic Silverton, Colo.
The contractor crew’s job is to remove the existing static line on a 17-mile segment of the association’s Cascade-Silverton 115-kV line from the Durango Mountain Resort to the west side of Silverton and replace it with an optical ground wire that contains a core of fiber optic strands for upgraded communications and broadband services to the area.
The contractor performing the work on Tri-State’s line is Atkinson Power LLC, based in Bethesda, Maryland. The project is being funded by EAGLE-Net Alliance. EAGLE-Net is a Broomfield, Colo.-based intergovernmental entity which operates a cost-sharing cooperative that delivers a carrier quality broadband network to more than 170 communities in Colorado. Continue reading ‘Aerial installation of optical ground wire on Tri-State line wraps up this month’
According to Indiana Reed, public information officer for Tri-State member La Plata Electric Association (Durango, Colo.), members of the co-op will have the opportunity to offset a portion of their electric bills with local renewable generation produced from up to six community solar gardens to be located in La Plata County. She said the projects are slated for completion by the end of this year.
Tri-State member Empire Electric Association’s board of directors recently announced that Josh Dellinger, Empire’s system engineer, will become the cooperative’s new general manager on Jan. 1, 2015, replacing the retiring Neal Stephens.
“Josh was our number one choice and the vote was unanimous,” said Bill Bauer, Empire’s board president. “The board is confident that he has the qualities to carry out the difficult tasks that lie ahead,” he added.
Dellinger has ten years of experience in the power industry. Beginning in his college years, he completed two internships with investor-owned utilities and worked for over two years as an electric power analyst with the Department of Defense. Prior to his position at Empire Electric, Dellinger worked for seven years as manager of technical services and engineering for Glacier Electric Cooperative in Montana. Continue reading ‘Empire Electric announces retiring GM’s successor’
For the ninth year in a row, Tri-State, the Colorado Rural Electric Association and Colorado’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives were well represented at the Colorado State Fair (Pueblo, Colo.) in support of the 4-H and Future Farmers of America kids participating in the annual Junior Livestock Sale (Aug. 26).
There are many connections to Tri-State including various youth in the member co-ops’ service territories. Two entrants in the market lamb category were Cheyenne Chambers, a 17-year-old from Limon, Colo, and her 18-year-old cousin Shelly Chambers. The Chambers family is located in the Mountain View Electric Association service territory and Cheyenne’s mother, Penny Chamber, is a warehouse employee for the co-op. Both Cheyenne and Shelly raised their lambs from birth and proudly showed off their hard work during the Livestock sale. Cheyenne’s lamb sold for $1,400 and Shelly’s lamb netted $3,000.
Other Livestock Sale co-op connections include Tyler and Kaylee Camblin, children of Highline Electric employee Chris Camblin, who both participated in the market beef sale. Additionally, Tri-State was recognized for purchasing a goat from Cassidy Jagers through the Denver Rustlers. Cassia is the granddaughter of Lawrence Brase who sits on the Southeast Colorado Power Association Board. Continue reading ‘Junior Livestock Sale supports youth in agriculture’
Earlier this month, Tri-Stater Angela Poe and her partner, Shawnalea, were offered a rare opportunity to soar into the early morning sky in a hot air balloon, courtesy of Tri-State, which was awarded tickets for two people aboard one of the airships participating in the Moffat County Balloon Festival held Aug. 2-3 at Loudy Simpson Park in Craig, Colo.
Tri-State and Craig Station, in particular, are supporters and sponsors of this annual summer event.
Poe, who is a plant operator at Craig Station, wrote about her experience noting that she felt like she had “won the lotto,” when she learned that she had been selected for this unique aerial excursion. Originally, the free balloon ride was awarded to Tri-Stater, Janice Nicoletto, but she was unable to attend the event. Continue reading ‘Tri-Stater wins balloon ride at G&T-sponsored festival’
The third annual Colorado’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives Golf Classic held Aug. 18 at Perry Park County Club near Larkspur, Colo., will go down in the books as another major success for the state’s participating electric co-ops and the local community sponsors who raised $5,000 for five regional food banks.
“This year we upped our game with the participation of Power, the new symbol of all that co-op-provided electricity brings to our daily lives and the Touchstone Energy Balloon, which was provided by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association,” said Darryl Edwards, chairperson of the event and member services manager for Tri-State member Mountain View Electric Association (Limon and Falcon, Colo.). Continue reading ‘Colorado Touchstone Energy golf fundraiser marks third successful year’
Tri-State staff members held their 2014 Electric Resource Planning Public Input Meeting on Friday, Aug. 8 at the association’s Hub Thompson Conference Center in Westminster.
Tri-State participates in a resource planning process, which includes a plan filed every four years beginning in 2010, with updates made to the plan each year. The planning process involves projecting future needs, assessing the existing assets available to meet those needs and identifying any resource gap so that Tri-State can continue to provide reliable and affordable electricity.
Planning for resources involves developing and assessing alternative scenarios based on a range of growth rates, resource costs, capital costs, types of generation resources, energy efficiency programs, levels of emissions, water usage and other considerations. The various alternative resource plans are compared on the basis of cost, environmental characteristics and other factors. Continue reading ‘Public updated on Tri-State’s resource plan’
Celebrating their 75th annual meeting, Otero County Electric invited its membership to join them at Cloudcroft high school in Cloudcroft, N.M. this past Saturday, August 2. The meeting was attended by over 400 member-owners with the board and staff presenting reports on the financial status of the co-op and a video featuring members reminiscing when the lights first came on at their homes and ranches.
Jennifer Goss, senior vice president, member relations, presented on the association’s status, and its recent implementation of the relationship manager program. Kevin Groenewold, executive vice president and general manager of the New Mexico Rural Electric Cooperative Assn. also spoke on local and national legislative issues.
Making an appearance during registration and performing a skit with Jon Beyer, member relations manager, Power shook hands and bumped fists with Otero County member-owners while passing along the message about the work that power does in people’s everyday lives. Power also met NRECA mascots, LED Lucy and CFL Charlie, and the local troop of Boy Scouts who were helping logistically with the annual meeting.
- Visit Power’s Facebook page to see more photos from the event and give the page a “like.”
Approximately 90 high school-aged teens recently enjoyed a glorious week of summertime fun in the Rockies mixed with some electric co-op energy education thanks to their local electric co-ops.
Campers from Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas and Oklahoma converged on the Glen Eden Resort near Steamboat Springs, Colo., on July 13th for a jam-packed five-day agenda of activities ranging from volleyball tournaments, and river rafting to a high voltage safety demonstration and a power plant tour.
“The kids seem to really appreciate the balance that we try and provide between offering a lot of the traditional camp recreation activities along with opportunities to learn about how an electric co-op functions and a little bit of the science behind how electricity is produced and delivered to their homes,” said Jonathan Thornton, Tri-State’s strategic communications specialist and operations manager of the Cooperative Youth Leadership Camp. Continue reading ‘Co-op kids mix fun with energy education at youth leadership camp’
Credit Tri-State’s 300 Craig Station employees with the hard work, focus and tenacity that it took to reach an unprecedented safety milestone of having worked for more than 1 million hours without a lost workday injury at the association’s largest (1,303-megawatt) generating facility.
Plant employees were honored for their accomplishment earlier this week (July 15) with a visit and presentations by executive vice president and general manager, Mike McInnes and Barry Ingold, newly appointed senior vice president of production.
Ingold presented a plaque recognizing this achievement to Paul Perez, lab technician and union safety steward for Craig Station and Jim Nicoletto, machinist mechanic and chief steward for the local chapter of the IBEW. Continue reading ‘Craig Station employees celebrate 1 million work-hours without a lost-workday injury’