The proposal to increase the amount of renewable energy that Tri-State must deliver to its Colorado member co-ops has received preliminary approval in the Colorado House of Representatives – and could be up for its final vote this week.
As introduced on April 3, Senate Bill 252 — sponsored by state Senate President John Morse, D-Colorado Springs, and House Speaker Mark Ferrandino, D-Denver — would require the state’s electric co-ops with more than 100,000 meters, and utilities that generate and supply electricity on behalf of member co-ops (like Tri-State), to get 25 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources by 2020. The bill was approved by the Senate on April 15.
But the House last week cut the mandate from 25 percent to 20 percent by 2020. It passed the House on second reading late Friday and was scheduled for a third vote in that chamber yesterday.
Even with the amendment, Tri-State, its member co-ops and the Colorado Rural Electric Association continue to oppose the legislation – which would cost the G&T and its member systems billions of dollars to comply with the higher requirement.
“It’s still unreasonable and unachievable and would do considerable economic harm to rural Colorado,” said Dave Lock, Tri-State’s senior manager of government relations.
The editorial boards of five of the largest newspapers across Colorado have weighed in on the matter, each supporting Tri-State’s position in opposition of the proposed legislation. The Denver Post, Colorado Springs Gazette, Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, Pueblo Chieftain and Greeley Tribune have each run one or more editorials decrying the bill; those pieces can be accessed on the Keep Electricity Affordable web site.
In addition, the backers of the Rural Economic Action Alliance, which includes Tri-State and CREA, continue to use paid media to call attention to the bill’s many flaws. A half-page print ad (above) recently ran in those five newspapers along with the Denver Business Journal and Fort Collins Coloradoan, while radio and television commercials continue to air in communities across the state.