Tri-State to consider alternative transmission project in Southern Colorado

Change in project scope drives consideration of alternatives to proposed transmission project

SLV-H-Frame-transmissionTri-State will consider an alternative route for a transmission project to increase electric system reliability in Colorado’s San Luis Valley.

Growth in residential and agricultural loads throughout the San Luis Valley has caused the existing transmission infrastructure to reach its capacity. Tri-State studied several options to meet the electric reliability needs in the San Luis Valley, including generation and demand management options, before identifying new transmission infrastructure as the most costeffective and highest benefit to electric consumers.

Tri-State previously proposed a joint transmission project with Xcel Energy that would have extended from the San Luis Valley east to Walsenburg, Colorado and then north to the Comanche power plant. That project was approved by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission in September 2011.

Xcel Energy has previously indicated to the Colorado Public Utilities Commission that it is likely that it will withdraw from further participation in the joint project due to changes in its generation resources needs. Such a significant change in the scope of the previously approved project would likely require a new application to the Colorado Public Utilities Commission for an alternative project. Recognizing this possibility, Tri-State has considered various alternatives to the previously proposed project and plans to study further an alternative transmission project with a north-south alignment between Alamosa, Colorado and Tri-State’s existing transmission system in northern New Mexico.

The alternative project will meet Tri-State’s goal of bolstering reliability of the electric grid, with the added benefit of supporting potential renewable energy development. “Tri-State remains committed to making the necessary infrastructure investments to ensure a reliable power supply to the farms, ranches, and communities of southern Colorado,” said Joel Bladow, Tri-State’s senior vice president, transmission. “Tri-State will study the alternative through an open, transparent and responsive process that incorporates public input and a rigorous environmental review.”

The project will help ensure reliable power to San Luis Valley Rural Electric Cooperative, which serves more than 7,500 member owners across the San Luis Valley. “We are pleased that Tri-State remains committed to ensure our co-op can continue to provide reliable power to our member-owners across the valley,” said Loren Howard, CEO of San Luis Valley Rural Electric Cooperative. “We look forward to working together with Tri-State and the San Luis Valley community to ensure the project is a success.”

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