McInnes appointed Tri-State executive vice president and general manager

Mike-McInnesTri-State’s board of directors has unanimously chosen Michael McInnes as the association’s executive vice president and general manager. McInnes had served in that role on an interim basis since March 2014.

“Mike demonstrates daily the leadership and character that motivates our employees and strengthens our relationships with our members,” said Rick Gordon, chairman and president of Tri-State. “This combined with his deep industry knowledge and passion for the cooperative business model makes Mike uniquely qualified to lead Tri-State into the future.”

“I’m honored by the board’s support and grateful for the opportunity to lead this outstanding association’s talented and dedicated employees,” said McInnes. “I’m humbled by the responsibility Tri-State has to deliver to our members the affordable and reliable electricity that is essential to the rural way of life, and I’m confident we can move forward to meet the challenges facing our association and industry.” Continue reading ‘McInnes appointed Tri-State executive vice president and general manager’

Tri-State, member systems receive ‘Spotlight on Excellence’ awards

The opening general session of NRECA’s CONNECT ’14 conference featured Terry Jones, founder of Travelocity.com and co-founder of Kayak.com.

The opening general session of NRECA’s CONNECT ’14 conference featured Terry Jones, founder of Travelocity.com and co-founder of Kayak.com.

Last month (May 14-16) in San Antonio, Texas,  members of Tri-State’s communications department and several member co-op employees received national recognition as winners in the annual “Spotlight on Excellence” awards program, sponsored by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and the Council of Rural Electric Communicators.

Participants in the communications competition went head-to-head with colleagues from electric co-ops of similar sizes across the U.S. in 18 different categories. Electric cooperative communicators and marketing professionals submitted more than 750 entries in the Spotlight on Excellence program, now in its 26th year.

Tri-State and four of its members were honored with awards at the annual NRECA CONNECT ’14 conference held May 14-16 in San Antonio, Texas.

Tri-State and four of its members were honored with awards at the annual NRECA CONNECT ’14 conference held May 14-16 in San Antonio, Texas.

Tri-State received a Silver Award for its Network Magazine, which is distributed quarterly to Tri-State employees and its member systems. The Tri-State communications staff also received a Silver Award for its monthly electronic newsletter, e-Bulletin, as well as a Silver Award for its annual in-house Communications and Member Services Conference that attracts membership staff to headquarters each fall for this long-standing and popular two-day event. Continue reading ‘Tri-State, member systems receive ‘Spotlight on Excellence’ awards’

A shocking demonstration of electric safety

Farm-Safety-DaySan Luis Valley Rural Electric Cooperative (SLVREC), a Tri-State member co-op in Monte Vista, CO gave a demonstration on electric safety to 250 third graders that they won’t soon forget. SLVREC’s 12th annual Progressive Agriculture Safety Day included a high voltage electric safety demonstration. Ray Martinez and Dave Mixa, the presenters from SLVREC, explained that the 7 and 8 year-olds were extremely attentive when they see the power of electricity in real life.  Martinez and Mixa discussed and showed the dangers of electricity, what to do if the child or the child’s family encounters a downed power line and how electricity works.

SLVREC educates children as well as adults on electric safety.  It sponsors the Louie the Lightning Bug program which is held in classrooms for first graders, as well as high voltage demonstrations for adults using a portable high voltage demonstration trailer. SLVREC also takes its show on the road and tailors safety demonstrations to an organization or group’s needs.

Tri-State trains educators on teaching electricity in classroom

Ag-in-the-classroom-01Tri-State has a longstanding reputation and strong commitment in its support of youth education programs aimed at empowering the leaders of tomorrow, as well as telling our story of the value that consumer-owned power brings to farms, ranches, businesses and communities served by the association’s 44 member co-ops.

Tri-State welcomed 12 school teachers and educators from around the country to our headquarters as part of the Ag in the Classroom program, an annual, free educators’ energy conference that was held May 15 and 16. ‘Making the Connection’ was this year’s theme and the tagline, “Energy + Agriculture = Success,” reinforces Tri-State’s commitment to enhancing the agricultural connection in our service territory. Continue reading ‘Tri-State trains educators on teaching electricity in classroom’

Second graders talk sustainability at Tri-State

Second-graders from a local school recently were guest presenters at HQ to talk about sustainability efforts at their school.

Second-graders from a local school recently were guest presenters at HQ to talk about sustainability efforts at their school.

If you think that American kids in our schools today don’t have much interest in weighty issues like sustainability, preserving our natural resources and saving energy, then you should pay a visit to Northglenn, Colo.’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Magnet Lab School, where kindergarten through eighth-grade students are gaining practical experience in dealing with “real world” problems.

Recently (May 15), the school’s approximately 50 second-graders were invited to hone their presentation skills before a volunteer panel of Tri-Staters in Westminster’s Hub Thompson conference center.

The event was organized in large part by Brenda Patricolo, a Tri-State projects accountant and mother of two students attending the STEM school. Patricolo, whose daughter, Brooklyn, was among the second-grade presenters, said that each of the kids gave about a five-minute presentation on some of the many aspects of renewable energy use and sustainability.  Continue reading ‘Second graders talk sustainability at Tri-State’

Rotational employees tour United Power’s headquarters

(Editor’s note: Thanks to Jason Musso, a headquarters-based rotational employee, for submitting the following story).

Ron Asche, United Power Chief Executive Officer, talks to Tri-State rotational employees.

Ron Asche, United Power Chief Executive Officer, talks to Tri-State rotational employees.

United Power hosted an event at their headquarters building in Brighton for the active and alumni Tri-State rotational employees on April 30.  The highly anticipated agenda  included a facility tour and an array of upper-level staff presentations.

The day began with Troy Whitmore, United’s Director of External Affairs welcoming the Tri-State group. He then introduced the group to various upper-level staff. Ron Asche, United’s Chief Executive Officer, gave the visitors a quick introduction and history of the cooperative, emphasizing that United covers 900 square miles of service territory and that the co-op purchases approximately 10% of Tri-State’s total member sales. Whitmore and Myke Weis, Manager of Operations, then conducted a tour of United’s facilities. Following the tour a variety of United Power employees gave presentations to provide insight into what goes on day-to-day in their cooperative. Continue reading ‘Rotational employees tour United Power’s headquarters’

Tri-State among proud sponsors of Colorado Leopold Conservation Award

Gary and Georgia Walker are the recipients of this year’s Colorado Leopold Conservation Award. They operate a 65,000-acre ranch near Pueblo-West, Colo.

Gary and Georgia Walker are the recipients of this year’s Colorado Leopold Conservation Award. They operate a 65,000-acre ranch near Pueblo-West, Colo.

Tri-State, San Isabel Electric Association and Colorado’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives are proud to be among this year’s sponsors of the 2014 Colorado Leopold Conservation Award, which recognizes extraordinary achievement by private landowners in voluntary conservation. This year’s winners are Gary and Georgia Walker.

This award is named for renowned conservationist, Aldo Leopold.

Tri-State and its member systems are also helping to support the Leopold Award winners in Nebraska and Wyoming, which will be included in a more in-depth article appearing in the upcoming summer edition of the association’s Network Magazine.

On a massive 30-mile long spread near Pueblo-West, Colo., Gary and Georgia Walker, owners of the 65,000-acre Turkey Creek Ranch, have demonstrated a passion for protecting wildlife, rare plant species and an overall commitment to long-term land stewardship that is sure to inspire other farmers, ranchers and conservation leaders throughout the state and country. Continue reading ‘Tri-State among proud sponsors of Colorado Leopold Conservation Award’

Burlington field facility construction wraps up, experienced combustion turbine manager retires

After nearly eight months of construction, Tri-State’s Burlington, Colo.-based employees, comprising the transmission maintenance crew and the Burlington Generating Station group, will move into a new facility as soon as next week if all goes as planned, according to Ben Mayer, Tri-State’s general facilities manager.

Tri-State staff recently conducted a construction walk-through at the new Burlington field facility.

Tri-State staff recently conducted a construction walk-through at the new Burlington field facility.

The new building, which is sited on Burlington Station’s premises, approximately 6 miles north of the eastern Colorado town of the same name, is essentially a smaller version of the association’s Northern Colorado Maintenance Center (near Frederick, Colo.) with many of the same energy efficient features, such as skylights, in-floor heating in the garage bays and exterior LED lighting.

The new structure will also house the Burlington Station control room, which is being moved from the old on-site facility. Continue reading ‘Burlington field facility construction wraps up, experienced combustion turbine manager retires’

Tri-State sponsors Wyoming ag bookmark contest

Gigi Dennis congratulates Siobhan Lally, a winner in the Wyoming ag bookmark contest

Gigi Dennis congratulates Siobhan Lally, a winner in the Wyoming ag bookmark contest

Tri-State is proud to have provided sponsorship and judging for the ‘Ag in the Classroom’ bookmark contest designed to celebrate agriculture as an important part of Wyoming’s communities.  Students across Wyoming let their imaginations run wild as they depicted the essence of Wyoming’s agriculture by creating a bookmark.  On April 18, the winners were announced in Cheyenne at the Depot Museum.

Tri-State sponsored the Energy and Natural Resources category and, according to Gigi Dennis, Senior Manager of External Affairs, “It’s fun for Tri-State to participate in this contest and to see the creativity the students express through their artwork.  Under the Energy and Natural Resources Division, the students truly grasp the importance of Wyoming’s rich energy resources.”

The bookmark contest/celebration was open to 3rd, 4th and 5th graders from around the state with as many as 1,500 students throughout Wyoming competing in this year’s contest.  The contest has been going strong for 20 years and Tri-State is proud to have been involved for the past two years.  Continue reading ‘Tri-State sponsors Wyoming ag bookmark contest’

United Power marks 75 years of delivering consumer-owned power

United Power’s Troy Whitmore and Heidi Storz provided a historical presentation at the co-op’s 75th anniversary annual meeting before a group of approximately 700 guests on April 16, at the Adams County Fairground’s Waymire Dome.

United Power’s Troy Whitmore and Heidi Storz provided a historical presentation at the co-op’s 75th anniversary annual meeting before a group of approximately 700 guests on April 16, at the Adams County Fairground’s Waymire Dome.

From its humble beginnings in 1938 when it was first formed under the name Union Rural Electric Association to serve the farms and ranches of Colorado’s northern Front Range, Brighton, Colo.-based United Power has grown to become the state’s second largest (in terms of consumers served) electric co-op in the state with nearly 72,000 member-consumers on its distribution lines.

United Power recently (April 16) celebrated its “Powerful Past and Bright Future” at its 75th annual meeting and anniversary celebration held at the Adams County Fairgrounds. The event attracted nearly 1,000 guests, who were treated to a barbecue dinner, as well as the opportunity to visit informational exhibit booths and enjoy an evening of live entertainment provided by guitarist Dave Connelly. Continue reading ‘United Power marks 75 years of delivering consumer-owned power’

Tri-State, members continue to expand renewable portfolios

Both Tri-State and its member systems in Colorado and New Mexico continue to seek opportunities to expand their energy resources mix to include renewables such as wind, solar and hydroelectric power.

On the Tri-State side of the renewable list, a significant portion of the energy it provides to its members is derived from renewable resources, including hydropower, wind and solar.  Tri-State delivers to its members 704 MW of renewable hydropower generated  from facilities across the west.  

DMEA’s South Canal Hydroelectric Plant is the largest local renewable project (in terms of capacity output) in the membership.

DMEA’s South Canal Hydroelectric Plant is the largest local renewable project (in terms of capacity output) in the membership.

Most of Tri-State’s purchased renewable resources are derived from two Colorado-based wind farms totaling 142 megawatts of wind capacity and the 30-megawatt Cimarron Solar Facility in northeastern New Mexico.

In 2013, the association signed an agreement prompting the expansion of the Colorado Highlands Wind farm in northeastern Colorado. Last fall, the site grew from 67 megawatts of capacity to 91 megawatts of output for Tri-State under a power purchase agreement. Continue reading ‘Tri-State, members continue to expand renewable portfolios’

San Isabel donates $10,000 of equipment to Huerfano County Fire Department

San-Isabel-donates-to-HCFDTri-State member San Isabel Electric recently donated $10,000 to the fire department to purchase two 4-wheel drive all-terrain vehicles for use in rural wildland firefighting.  The equipment is necessary in providing fire protection to approximately 820 square miles of service area in the eastern half of Huerfano County.

According to Huerfano County Fire Protection District Captain Paul Gomez, prior to the donation by San Isabel, firefighters used the Huerfano County Sheriff Department’s ATVs when needed.  This time consuming practice in some instances took away from firefighting efforts as a team member would leave the scene of the fire to pick up the equipment after an initial assessment of the situation.

“Having our own ATVs allows our fire department to respond immediately, saving time and it can prevent small fires from growing quickly into large fires,” said Gomez.   Continue reading ‘San Isabel donates $10,000 of equipment to Huerfano County Fire Department’

New Tri-State publications available

Tri-State’s premiere publication, the 2013 Tri-State annual report and the association’s quarterly (spring 2014) Network magazine are now available on Tri-State’s Web site.

Tri-State-2013-annual-reportThe theme of the annual report is “powered by people,” which features a visual design to showcase some of the more than 1,500 Tri-State employees working behind the scenes to keep the lights on and bring affordable and reliable power to its 44 member systems.  Click here to request a print version of the 2013 annual report.

Network-Spring-2014The Network magazine features a guest column by Jennifer Goss, Tri-State’s senior vice president of member relations, which focuses on the association’s goal of placing greater emphasis on member relations and communications.  Other stories in this issue include a feature on the National Western Stock Show, a small Wyoming co-op making a difference in the communities it serves, and a follow up article on how Mountain View Electric’s consumers are bouncing back in the wake of the Black Forest Fire.

Western Fuels – Colorado mines take top honors for safety, reclamation and innovation

Employees of both the New Horizon and the Colowyo mines can be especially proud of their operations, which received multiple awards and honors last week (April 15-17) at the Colorado Mining Association’s 116th National Western Mining Conference & Exhibition held at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver. Both mines are owned and operated by Western Fuels-Colorado, a subsidiary company owned by Tri-State.

New Horizon Mine, which supplies Tri-State’s Nucla Station, was honored for safety, reclamation and environmental practices.

New Horizon Mine, which supplies Tri-State’s Nucla Station, was honored for safety, reclamation and environmental practices.

The National Western Mining Conference attracted nearly 1,000 attendees from throughout the mining industry and 110 exhibitors, including the ‘Keep Electricity Affordable’ campaign booth. The three-day mining event featured industry experts providing their views on the many challenges and opportunities facing the industry.

At the conference, Lee Boughey, senior manager of communications and public affairs, provided a presentation on Tri-State, its subsidiary mining operations and the importance of coal in Tri-State’s energy mix in assuring that the G&T continues to provide affordable power to its member systems.

Both Tri-State and Western Fuels-Colorado served as premiere sponsors of this year’s mining conference. Continue reading ‘Western Fuels – Colorado mines take top honors for safety, reclamation and innovation’

Co-ops celebrate Earth Day

2014-Earth-DayToday is Earth Day, an opportunity to promote the environment and celebrate efforts to preserve our resources. Cooperatives across the country, such as Clay Electric cooperative in Florida, have implemented creative programs to help protect their service territories. For example, when Clay Electric closed a substation in a national forest, rather than leave the site as-is, it worked to restore the site to its natural habitat so wildlife could thrive. To learn more about this program and other initiatives, visit NRECA’s web page that encourages co-ops to share their stories.

Continental Divide Electric and Tri-State secure sale to Gallup, N.M.

Continental Divide Electric Cooperative (shown) and Tri-State will begin selling power to the city of Gallup, N.M this summer.

Continental Divide Electric Cooperative (shown) and Tri-State will begin selling power to the city of Gallup, N.M this summer.

Once again, the cooperative spirit of consumer-owned cooperative power has brought another success story to the Tri-State membership family. In this case, it was a three-party collaboration between Tri-State, its member, Continental Divide Electric Cooperative (Grants, N.M.), and the nearby city of Gallup, which was in search of a competitive priced electric power supplier to serve its community of approximately 21,000 residents for an eight-year term beginning this summer.

According to, Michael Martin, Tri-State’s business development manager for energy markets, the city of Gallup issued a request for proposal last fall in anticipation of replacing the power supply contract set to expire at the end of June 2014.

“Continental Divide expressed interest in collaborating on a proposal that they ultimately submitted to city officials in November,” explained Martin. That collaboration is essentially an arrangement in which Tri-State will sell the power to Continental Divide and Continental Divide will, in turn, resell that power to the city of Gallup. Continue reading ‘Continental Divide Electric and Tri-State secure sale to Gallup, N.M.’

Tri-State salutes its linemen

National-Lineman-Day-2014Today, April 18, is National Lineman Appreciation day and Tri-State honors all the dedicated linemen who work hard, under all sorts of weather conditions to keep the lights on.

There are currently 43 linemen within Tri-State’s transmission maintenance group who keep the power flowing over the association’s 5,300-mile transmission network. Add to that cadre of high voltage professionals the scores of linemen on call 24-hours-a-day to maintain the distribution lines of the 44 member systems that comprise Tri-State’s membership and ultimately provide electricity to more than 1.5 million people in four states.

Tri-State thanks its hardworking linemen for all they do!

Tri-State sponsors awards at Nebraska State FFA Convention

Neb_FFATri-State’s education and leadership development programs are an important part of its longstanding community outreach efforts to assist in the development of the next generation of leaders in the many rural communities served by its membership.

In line with those educational efforts, the association recently sponsored and judged the Electrical Technology Entrepreneurship Placement Proficiency Awards event held at the Nebraska State Future Farmers of America (FFA) State Convention held in Lincoln, Neb.

Approximately 3,800 members of the Nebraska FFA descended on Lincoln for the 86th State FFA Convention held April 9-11.

At the conference, the future agrarians attend workshops and classes, listen to motivational speakers, meet with advisors and fellow FFA members, attend an annual career fair and compete in leadership skill events. Continue reading ‘Tri-State sponsors awards at Nebraska State FFA Convention’

Tri-State employee authors article on ‘rope access’ live-line procedures

TSlinemenTom Penner, journey level linemen, based at the Craig, Colo., transmission facility, has written an article that has just been published in Transmission and Distribution World magazine on a relatively new live-line procedure known as “rope access” that has proven to be as safe and efficient method for Tri-State’s transmission maintenance crews to perform work on energized lines.

Click here to read the article.

Employee brings “Tri-State 101” to classroom

Some of Tri-State’s employees are tasked with educating students, educators and other groups on the many benefits that affordable, consumer-owned electric power provides in the daily lives of the millions of Americans. This effort is part of a multi-faceted Tri-State program to promote our industry and support the leaders of tomorrow.

Tri-State’s Jonathan Thornton recently visited with about 200 middle school kids at the Denver School of Science and Technology.

Tri-State’s Jonathan Thornton recently visited with about 200 middle school kids at the Denver School of Science and Technology.

With that youth education goal in mind, Jonathan Thornton, strategic communications specialist, recently (March 26) visited Denver’s Middle School of Science and Technology to give a brief presentation on the association for a “careers in energy” program organized by the school. Thornton was joined by several other energy industry presenters on the program.

The Tri-State presenter kept his young audience engaged during his 15-minute slide show and talk with plenty of back-and-forth questions and answers about how electricity is used in our everyday lives, where it originates and how Tri-State’s role as wholesale power supplier to electric cooperatives fits into overall power supply picture. Continue reading ‘Employee brings “Tri-State 101” to classroom’

Tri-State board officers elected following 2014 annual meeting

Annual-meeting-crowdApproximately 400 electric cooperative representatives and industry officials attended Tri-State’s 62nd annual meeting April 2-3, in Broomfield, Colo., where they reviewed the wholesale power supplier’s performance and accomplishments, and addressed the numerous challenges and opportunities facing the electric utility industry.

At the meeting, the association’s board of directors was seated for the upcoming year, including the six officers and three at-large positions that make up the board’s Executive Committee. Under the cooperative business model, Tri-State’s board is made up of one representative from each of its member systems, serving as the democratically-elected governing body of the association.

Chairman of the board, Rick Gordon

Chairman of the board, Rick Gordon

Rick Gordon, representing Tri-State member co-op Mountain View Electric Association (Limon, Colo.), was re-elected chairman for a fifth consecutive term. Gordon originally joined Tri-State’s board in 1994 and served as vice chairman for 13 years prior to first being elected chairman in 2010. He has served on Mountain View’s board since 1992. Continue reading ‘Tri-State board officers elected following 2014 annual meeting’

New substation brings improved service to Laguna Pueblo tribe in N.M.

Siting, securing the land rights, constructing and finally commissioning a new substation can sometimes be an arduous and, at times, even a contentious process. But, thankfully, that was not the case when Tri-State, member Continental Divide Electric Cooperative (Grants, N.M.) and the Laguna Pueblo Tribal Council worked together to improve electric service on their reservation.

Continental Divide’s board president, Keith Gottlieb (left) greets Richard Luarkie, Governor of Pueblo of Laguna tribal council at the ribbon cutting ceremony for a new substation.

Continental Divide’s board president, Keith Gottlieb (left) greets Richard Luarkie, Governor of Pueblo of Laguna tribal council at the ribbon cutting ceremony for a new substation.

The culmination of that cooperative spirit and hard work was celebrated recently (March 21) with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the brand new Old Laguna Substation serving the nearby Native American village of Laguna, N.M.

The substation ceremony was hosted by Continental Divide Electric and attended by a crowd of about  50 people, including the Governor of the Pueblo and members of Laguna’s tribal council, Continental Divide’s general manager, board members and staff, Tri-State employees directly involved in the project and others who played a role in adding the new substation to the power supply system. Continue reading ‘New substation brings improved service to Laguna Pueblo tribe in N.M.’

Tri-State continues to support classroom education programs

Tri-State has a longstanding reputation and strong commitment in its support of youth education programs aimed at empowering the leaders of tomorrow, as well as telling our story of the value that consumer-owned power brings to farms, ranches, businesses and communities served by the association’s 44 member systems.

Many of the association’s youth education programs are spearheaded by Gigi Dennis, senior manager of external affairs.

This interesting and educational “Colorado Kids” reader on hydropower appeared recently in the Denver Post. It was produced with the help of Tri-State.

This interesting and educational “Colorado Kids” reader on hydropower appeared recently in the Denver Post. It was produced with the help of Tri-State.

One such program series that has proved to be very successful is conducted through Tri-State’s alliance with the non-profit Agriculture in the Classroom organizations. They help help roll out free classroom readers and teacher study guide materials, as well as fun and educational Web site content for elementary school students living in communities in all four states of the Tri-State member service territory. Continue reading ‘Tri-State continues to support classroom education programs’

Senior manager of supply services receives supply management award

Angela Torres, senior manager of supply services, recently received the Salon Bennett Award for excellence in supply management.

Angela Torres, senior manager of supply services, recently received the Salon Bennett Award for excellence in supply management.

Congratulations to Angela Torres, senior manager of supply services, on receiving the Institute for Supply Management – Cooperative Utilities’ (ISM-CU) Solon Bennett Award on March 6, at the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s (NRECA) Tech Advantage conference held in Nashville, Tenn.

Solon Anthony Bennett was a former Director of Purchases and Stores for the City of Austin, Texas and an NRECA supply consultant. Continue reading ‘Senior manager of supply services receives supply management award’

San Luis Valley REC reaches out via social media, new radio show

SLVREC-Facebook-pageTri-State member, San Luis Valley REC dived into social media recently launching a Facebook page, twitter feed and a radio show to keep their members informed.  These communication methods can provide timely updates for routine maintenance, offer an easy way for members to receive information about their electric service and provide a way for the cooperative to give information about services, such as energy conservation.  They also plan to host a radio show Thursday mornings at 8:40 to discuss energy issues and provide timely information to their member-consumers.  SLVREC can be found at www.facebook.com/slvrec and www.twitter.com/slvrec.

Bureau of Land Management releases draft EIS for Tri-State transmission line planned for northern San Juan Basin

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Office of Environmental Policy and Compliance have recently made available for review and public comment the draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the 65-mile, 230-kilovolt San Juan Basin Energy Connect Project to be constructed by Tri-State between northwest New Mexico and Ignacio, Colo.

The proposed San Juan Basin Energy Connect Project is expected to be under construction by late 2016.

The proposed San Juan Basin Energy Connect Project is expected to be under construction by late 2016.

The project also includes the expansion of Tri-State’s existing Iron Horse Substation, additions at The Western Area Power Administration’s Shiprock Substation and the construction of two new substations, Kiffen Canyon and Three Rivers, both in New Mexico.

The BLM will host two public meetings during the 45-day draft EIS public comment period on April 8 in Ignacio, Colo., and April 9 in Farmington, N.M.

The new line is needed to alleviate the strain that increasing electric load growth in the San Juan Basin areas of Colorado and New Mexico have caused on the region’s existing electrical system.

Among the project’s objectives are to improve electric system reliability, provide additional electric system capacity to support Tri-State member La Plata Electric Association’s (LPEA) requested capacity, as well as directly improving the load serving capability of the electric systems serving members LPEA, Empire Electric Association and San Miguel Power Association. Continue reading ‘Bureau of Land Management releases draft EIS for Tri-State transmission line planned for northern San Juan Basin’

Tri-State’s members adding solar facilities

Two of Tri-State’s member systems in New Mexico have recently added, or are planning to add, solar facilities to their renewable resource portfolios, while one Colorado co-op has a small solar garden in the works this spring.

Earlier this year, Otero County Electric added this 76-kilowatt solar garden to their system. It is owned and operated by the co-op.

Earlier this year, Otero County Electric added this 76-kilowatt solar garden to their system. It is owned and operated by the co-op.

By far, the largest of those three solar arrays will be Mora-San Miguel Electric Cooperative’s (Mora, N.M.) planned 1.5-megawatt solar plant slated for construction later this year by Standard Solar. Mora-San Miguel has signed a 25-agreement to purchase the output of the facility, which will be constructed approximately two miles east of the Storrie Lake Substation. The new solar plant will be owned and operated by Standard Solar.

Earlier this year, another New Mexico co-op, Otero County Electric Cooperative (Cloudcroft, N.M.), completed its first solar garden, which is owned and operated by the cooperative.

The 76-kilowatt facility is located adjacent to the co-op’s Alamogordo Substation. The solar garden is comprised of 253 panels producing a maximum of 300 watts per panel. Continue reading ‘Tri-State’s members adding solar facilities’

Tri-State-sponsored power line R&D to be part of new center planned at DU

Research shows that carbon core conductor (shown) can operate at higher temperatures and move more energy than conventional power line materials.

Research shows that carbon core conductor (shown) can operate at higher temperatures and move more energy than conventional power line materials.

Among Tri-State’s many collaborations to gain maximum leverage for its research and development dollars is an on-going project at the University of Denver (Denver, Colo.) that is focused on advanced carbon-core transmission line conductor analysis. This research is expected to eventually lead to the development of power lines that carry a greater amount of energy than existing traditional aluminum and steel conductor.

The University of Denver (DU) recently announced that this conductor testing will continue as part of a new research center that will be largely funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation. DU, in collaboration with the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and the Michigan Technological University, received this five-year renewable grant to collaborate with corporations to further basic materials research.

The mission of the Center for Novel High Voltage/Temperature Materials and Structures is to provide a forum for industry/university cooperative research, including evaluation, design, modeling and the development of novel high voltage and high temperature materials and structures for energy transfer, aerospace, automotive and other applications. Continue reading ‘Tri-State-sponsored power line R&D to be part of new center planned at DU’

Tri-State to receive output of new 8-megawatt hydroplant beginning in June

The 10-year power purchase agreement that Tri-State’s board of directors authorized in August 2012 is expected to come to fruition this spring when the Tri-County Water Hydropower Project begins producing power on June 1 for the G&T from its newly constructed hydroelectric generation plant at the Ridgway Dam and Reservoir in Ouray County, Colo.

Construction is nearly complete on the Tri-County Hydropower Project, which will supply power to Tri-State beginning in June.

Construction is nearly complete on the Tri-County Hydropower Project, which will supply power to Tri-State beginning in June.

The new hydroplant features two generating units – a 7.2-megawatt generator and a smaller 800-kilowatt unit – that will produce up to 8 megawatts of capacity and approximately 24 gigawatt-hours of energy during an average water year.

Under the terms of the agreement with Tri-County Water Conservancy District, Tri-State will purchase power from the Ridgway facility during the months of June, July, August and September and the City of Aspen will buy the power produced at this facility during the other eight months of the year. Despite the shorter seasonal duration for Tri-State, these are typically the year’s higher output months and the association estimates that it will receive about 60 percent of the plant’s annual generation output.

The Tri-County Water Hydropower Project is within the service territory of Tri-State member, San Miguel Power Association (Nucla, Colo.) and is receiving station electric service from the co-op. Continue reading ‘Tri-State to receive output of new 8-megawatt hydroplant beginning in June’

Employee services staff hits the road recruiting for Tri-State

As the calendar turned over to 2014, Tri-State’s employee services group was already geared up to begin their 2014 recruiting circuit, which stretched over approximately 910 miles, at 6 universities, in 4 states.

Tri-State engineer and School of Mines alumni, Ryan Hubbard, explains different internship opportunities to a student.

Tri-State engineer and School of Mines alumni, Ryan Hubbard, explains different internship opportunities to a student.

Beginning on January 28th, Gigi Eschenberg and Rachel Jaakkola of the employee services team visited the University of Colorado, followed by stops at Colorado State University (February 5), University of Nebraska (February 13) and University of Wyoming (February 18). Plac Herrera, also of employee services, headed south to New Mexico University on February 5.

Engineers Joey Caruso and Ryan Hubbard assisted with recruiting at their alma mater, Colorado School of Mines.

This year, Tri-State has planned for three new rotation employees, two electrical engineers and a computer science or IT graduate, as well as five summer interns. The five summer interns will all be electrical engineering majors working in the following areas: system protection, system planning, transmission maintenance, system operations and EMS/MDMS support. Continue reading ‘Employee services staff hits the road recruiting for Tri-State’