Tri-State will move forward to identify options to ensure electric system reliability following Xcel Energy’s reconsideration of its participation in a joint transmission project with the association in southern Colorado. Xcel announced yesterday that factors affecting its resource needs require the utility to reconsider its participation in the Southern Colorado Transmission Improvements Project.
Tri-State and Xcel have been developing the project, which was approved by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission and would meet Tri-State’s reliability requirements and Xcel’s renewable energy requirements.
“The need for reliable electric service across the San Luis Valley, south-central Colorado and northern New Mexico has not changed,” said Joel Bladow, Tri-State’s senior vice president of transmission. “Tri-State will examine all options to ensure reliable power for the region; it is premature to eliminate any options without further investigation.”
Tri-State and its member co-ops in southern Colorado and northeastern New Mexico have long recognized the need to invest in the regional transmission system to ensure reliable power delivery to the rural communities they serve.
“Tri-State is committed to serving the power needs of the region,” said Bladow. “We appreciate the strong support from our member cooperatives and the communities and rural industries across southern Colorado that depend reliable electricity.”
In 2007, Tri-State finalized a plan to develop new transmission infrastructure in southern Colorado to reliably serve to its member systems and strengthen the region’s electric system.
In October 2008, Tri-State and Xcel Energy signed a memorandum of understanding to consider joint transmission projects in southern Colorado. In May 2009, the two utilities proposed the Southern Colorado Transmission Improvements Project and submitted an application for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) to the Colorado PUC.
The project would meet Tri-State and its members’ reliability requirements in the San Luis Valley, south-central Colorado and northeast New Mexico. The PUC approved the proposed project in September 2011, recognizing the reliability need underlying the CPCN application.