Delivering renewable energy to our members isn’t something new for Tri-State. Since we were founded in 1952, we’ve been delivering renewable hydropower to our members, and we’re still one of the largest purchasers of hydropower in the region today.
That’s just the beginning of the story. Since 2009, we’ve added four utility-scale wind farms, three utility-scale solar projects and numerous additional small hydropower projects. Our members have also added many other local renewable energy projects in the communities they serve.
When you add it all up, Tri-State and our members deliver enough renewable energy to power the equivalent of 500,000 average rural homes!
While nearly a third of the energy that’s consumed within our association comes from renewable energy, we’re not slowing down. Already in 2019, we’ve announced new projects that will increase our wind and solar energy by 45 percent.
There’s something important that we need to consider, and that’s cost and reliability.
While renewable energy is currently offered at competitive costs, that hasn’t always been the case. A decade ago, our first utility-scale wind and solar projects were expensive, but we moved forward to gain experience with these new technologies. We knew costs would likely decrease, and as costs have come down, we’ve increased our renewable portfolio. Today, we can contract for renewables that offer a cost savings to our members.
We also know that we need to operate a reliable system, and that there are times when the wind and sun aren’t available. Even as we invest in more renewables, we recognize that those resources we can turn on, or turn up, remain critical to keeping the lights on.