Tag Archive for 'bureau of land management'

BLM releases draft EA on Montrose-Nucla-Cahone Transmission Project

– Rebuild of 80-Mile Line Will Support Regional Growth, Boost Grid Reliability

– Tri-State’s Preferred Alternative Would Promote Safety, Minimize Impacts on Grouse Habitat

 telecomchopper250WESTMINSTER, Colo. – Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, Inc., a wholesale power supplier owned by 44 member electric cooperatives and public power districts, said today that it is encouraging the public to review a recently-released federal environmental analysis of the proposed Montrose-Nucla-Cahone (MNC) Transmission Upgrade Project. The company is also urging interested stakeholders to take advantage of a 30-day public comment period by expressing support for the utility’s preferred alternative for rebuilding the transmission line.

 Tri-State is proposing to rebuild and increase the capacity of the 80-mile MNC line that serves communities across southwestern Colorado, not only to replace aging infrastructure and increase grid reliability, but also to help meet new electricity demand. The existing 115 kilovolt (kV) line, in place for almost 60 years, will be replaced by a new 230 kV line and supported by a new substation and upgrades at two existing substations. The project will also replace fiber optic cable that is located on the existing line to ensure continued reliable emergency communications and broadband service for the region.

According to Tri-State Senior Vice President of Transmission Joel Bladow, the new line will benefit Tri-State’s members and the communities they serve. “Tri-State studied multiple ways to address the aging infrastructure, improve reliability and meet significant new demand in the region, and we determined that the MNC project was the best option,” said Bladow. “The upgraded line will help us meet the needs of our members for years to come.”

Because the existing line crosses lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the MNC project requires the completion of an Environmental Assessment (EA).

On Nov. 3, the BLM released a draft EA, triggering a 30-day public comment period (running through Dec. 3) that provides opportunities for stakeholders to provide feedback on the proposed alternatives and project benefits.

The draft EA identifies three construction alternatives. Under “Alternative A,” Tri-State’s preferred option, the utility would rebuild the line largely within the existing transmission line corridor – with the exception of diverting the current crossing of the Dolores River in western Dolores County to a new location approximately one mile downstream. The re-route is proposed to address safety, access and erosion concerns.

Bladow explained that the new crossing point would be more accessible, making it safer for construction and maintenance workers. “Safety is a top priority at Tri-State, but the existing span across the Dolores River creates real challenges for our maintenance staff. The northern takeoff point is located on steep, narrow, rocky terrain that is extremely difficult to access with vehicles and equipment for needed maintenance,” he said. “We are hopeful the BLM, Forest Service and other stakeholders will recognize that our proposed alternative offers a safer and more desirable location and will reduce erosion concerns by removing the current alignment from highly erosive soils.”

The other alternatives in the draft EA involve taking no action at all to improve the existing line – which would lead to further deterioration of the critical infrastructure, increase risk for electrical outages and threaten future service capacity – and diverting the existing corridor to accommodate a remnant population of Gunnison sage-grouse in the Dry Creek Basin in central San Miguel County. The BLM has proposed relocating 7.6 miles of line from its current route through the basin to a new alignment located along State Highway 141; the relocation would create an additional 1.3 miles of disturbance through Gunnison sage-grouse critical habitat.

As part of the 30-day public comment period on the draft EA, the BLM will host a public open house on Nov. 16 at Dove Creek High School in Dove Creek, Colo., from 5 to 7 p.m. Information is also available at the BLM’s project Web page: http://www.blm.gov/co/st/en/district_offices/southwest/TriState230kVRebuild.html.

In addition, Tri-State has established a website at www.MNCRebuild.com to provide updated information on the project and to facilitate the submission of comments to the BLM.

 About Tri-State

Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association is a wholesale power supplier, operating on a not-for-profit basis, to 44 electric cooperatives and public power districts serving approximately 1.5 million consumers throughout a 200,000 square-mile service territory across Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico and Wyoming. In 2015, Tri-State was recognized by the U.S. Department of Energy as Wind Cooperative of the Year.

 Media Contact:

Drew Kramer

Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association

O: (303) 254-3086

C: (303) 681-1341

E: Akramer@TriStateGT.org


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’

Delta-Montrose Electric showcases solar lease-a-panel program

What better way to celebrate Earth Day than showing off a successful solar story?

That’s what Tri-State member system Delta-Montrose Electric Association did April 22 during an open house at its headquarters, where it announced that in two months it had fully leased 20,000 kilowatts of capacity, worth $75,000, in two community solar arrays.

The program, launched by the Montrose, Colo., co-op in mid-February, allows member-consumers to lease, at a small cost, a piece of the installations in exchange for a credit on their electric bills. Residents and businesses snapped up the leases, paying $3.75 per kilowatt.