On June 5 Gov. John Hickenlooper signed into law SB 252, a hotly-contested piece of legislation passed by both chambers of the Colorado Legislature that doubles the renewable energy requirements for Tri-State.
The new law will require Tri-State to derive at least 20 percent of its power supply from renewable resources by 2020 — twice the amount the G&T was obligated to meet under existing legislation that was passed in 2007.
Tri-State, the Colorado Rural Electric Association and a broad range of stakeholders — including the state’s leading business groups, rural coalitions, agricultural producers and labor unions — joined forces to oppose the bill and asked the governor to veto it.
“We met with Governor Hickenlooper twice to discuss rural communities’ significant concerns with the bill,” said Kent Singer, executive director of the Colorado Rural Electric Association. “By the time the bill arrived at his desk, the many flaws in the bill could be addressed only with a veto. We asked him to veto the bill and convene an inclusive stakeholder process that could have led to a compromise.”
The new law will impact Tri-State’s current operations and its ongoing efforts to develop additional renewable resources.
“We shared with the Governor how we are meeting our obligation under the existing renewable energy mandate and how the bill introduces new risks for our existing facilities and renewable projects that were planned prior to the introduction of the bill,” said Tri-State general manager and executive vice president Ken Anderson. “Regrettably for rural Coloradans, the Governor chose to sign a flawed bill into flawed law.”
Tri-State will continue to evaluate the new law to determine appropriate next steps to best protect the interests of its member co-ops, their member-owners and the communities that depend on the association’s existing facilities.