A new decade, a new direction
January 15, 2020
As we’re beginning this new decade, big events are marking the changes in our industry and our cooperative association. Today, Tri-State announced our Responsible Energy Plan – a look to the future and the transformation we’re undertaking.
We’ve always been an association that plans for the future and responds to change. When I think back ten years to my first year as Chairman of the Tri-State Board of Directors, our first renewable energy projects were just becoming operational, and we were completing the purchases of J.M. Shafer Generating Station and the Colowyo Mine – all with a focus on planning for the future. Throughout the decade we’ve seen significant changes, including renewable energy becoming a more affordable option, new players and new dynamics in energy markets, and shifts in public opinion, politics, and consumer attitudes.
We’re now at the point where we’re poised to become a new Tri-State. It’s not always easy, as evidenced by last week’s difficult announcements of the retirements of the Colowyo Mine and our Escalante and Craig Generating Stations. But the board has the obligation to all members to develop a comprehensive path forward to not only ensure that we can continue to operate today, but that we can keep providing reliable, affordable and responsible power to our members and communities for many years to come.
As a board, we gave Tri-State staff the direction last July to develop a Responsible Energy Plan – something that would comply with all applicable environmental and renewable energy requirements while striving to reduce members’ rates, preserve electricity reliability and affordability, and maintain Tri-State’s financial strength. The plan we unveil today allows us to work toward this goal while at the same time being responsible to our employees, our members, our communities and our environment.
• Reducing emissions – by eliminating 100% of our emissions from our New Mexico coal facilities by the end of 2020 and from our Colorado coal facilities by 2030.
• Increasing clean energy – bringing 1 gigawatt of wind and solar resources online by 2024 so 50% of the energy our cooperative uses comes from renewables.
• Increasing member flexibility – by actively pursuing member contract flexibility and options for members to develop more local renewable generation.
• Extending the benefits of a clean grid – by expanding programs to help consumers save money and energy while cutting emissions.
• Committing to community and employees – with a focus on support during this time of transition.
• Looking forward to a brighter future – striving to reduce rates and find even more opportunities where partnership benefits us all.
I invite you to read more about the details of our plan and the big changes ahead. I’m confident that as a cooperative, we will prove that by working together we can take a lead role in moving the industry into the future.