Tri-State Co-ops Bring Renewable Energy to Their Communities

Recently, Tri-State announced two utility-scale renewable energy projects to further diversify its energy resource portfolio. One – a 51-megawatt wind project to be located just north of Burlington, Colorado; and a 30-megwatt photovoltaic solar project to be located in northern New Mexico.

Both will bring clean power to the 1.4 million consumers Tri-State serves through its 44 member cooperatives.

But many of Tri-State’s member cooperatives have taken the opportunity to invest in renewable energy a step further.

Just last year, Tri-State launched a “Member Local Renewable Project” program.

The program provides its member owners with financial assistance to facilitate the development of local renewable energy projects that ultimately qualify in meeting Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) that have been established in Colorado and New Mexico.

Under the program, Tri-State’s financial support of local renewable projects take form of performance payments based on the output of the project or attributes generated by the project for which the member can claim ownership.

Since its inception, the program has gotten off to a great start.

Recently, Durango, Colorado-based La Plata Electric Association launched a recovered heat project that captures heat generated from gas turbines to produce electricity. Holyoke, Colorado-based Highline Electric Association also launched a similar project in the northeast corner of the state. Now operation, Highline expects to save about $10 million in power costs over the 20-year life of the contract. The waste-heat generator will produce 27,600 megawatt-hours of energy annually.

In addition, three schools in New Mexico and Colorado have installed geothermal heating and cooling systems to help them use energy more efficiently and save money.

Last year alone, Tri-State distributed more than $1.8 million in 2008 to home owners and business operators for their installation of more efficient lighting, appliances, heating and cooling systems.

Moving forward, energy efficiency will play a key role in Tri-State’s continued effort to provide affordable and reliable electricity.

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