By Joe Smyth | email@example.com | @joesmyth
Denver - Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper delivered the keynote address to the Climate Leadership Conference in Denver today, highlighting the state’s efforts to accelerate the transition to renewable energy by working with companies and municipalities throughout the state.
I had an opportunity to ask Governor Hickenlooper about the opportunities and challenges facing electric cooperatives in Colorado as they pursue local renewable energy projects - including policies that restrict 18 of the 22 co-ops in Colorado that buy power from Tri-State. Here's what Governor Hickenlooper's said:
We have the same limitations that those cooperatives do, we don’t control Tri-State. But again, I think this is where public sentiment plays a big role, and as more people speak out on this, I think there will be more pressure on Tri-State to at least accommodate those co-ops that feel they can have cleaner energy at a lower cost and not compromise what everybody else is paying for their electricity as well.
And I don’t think we’re far away from that. I think that as renewables continue to come down in value, and producing coal is not coming down in value, if anything it’s probably going up. And that dynamic tension is going to push an increasing number of co-ops towards renewables, and I think at a certain point Tri-State is going to either be part of the team or they’re going to really face some withering criticism from the public.
Indeed, a growing number of electric cooperatives are pursuing renewable energy projects, especially solar energy projects. A report from Rocky Mountain Institute this week shows that cost reductions and other factors have led to a rapid increase of community-scale solar projects by electric cooperatives in 2017, compared to previous years.
Several electric cooperatives in Colorado built solar power projects in 2017, including United Power and Poudre Valley Electric, and others are pursuing solar projects that are expected to come on line in 2018. But a growing number of Colorado co-ops are restricted from pursuing more community-scale solar, because they have already reached (or are approaching) the 5% limit on self-generation imposed by Tri-State.
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Colorado communities and state Energy Office urge Public Utilities Commission oversight of Tri-State
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Tri-State executive involved with anti-Clean Air Act group since 2005
US Congressional Committee requests details of Tri-State funding to anti-Clean Air Act group
Renewable energy projects stalled in 2018 among Tri-State member co-ops
Second co-op asks Tri-State to pull “Better Together” ads
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Tri-State expects member co-ops to support bylaw changes at annual meeting
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Public Utilities Commission rejects Tri-State motion to exclude Colorado Energy Office from exit charge case
Tri-State claims that co-ops "have intervened on Tri-State's behalf at the PUC” don’t add up
Colorado state legislators urge Public Utilities Commission to determine Tri-State exit charge
United Power says Tri-State policies are turning away large customers
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Tri-State policy change discourages battery projects in rural Colorado and New Mexico
Colorado Public Utilities Commission orders Tri-State to "satisfy or answer" exit charge complaint from Delta Montrose Electric
United Power seeks solutions to "increasingly outmoded G&T business models"
Clean Energy Means Business Summit highlights renewable energy opportunities and challenges in rural Colorado
Governor-elect Jared Polis says moving Colorado toward more renewable energy will be a top priority
Electric cooperative officials discuss cheap renewable energy and an “eroding monopoly”
Delta Montrose Electric members vote for new financing options, supporting a potential buyout of Tri-State contract
Poudre Valley Electric requests Tri-State policy changes and fuel mix study
Holy Cross Energy plans to shift away from coal, aiming for 70% renewable energy
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Report: Tri-State could save $600 million by shifting from coal to renewable energy
Delta Montrose Electric seeks new financing options to end contract with Tri-State
Wind energy jobs in rural Colorado attract bipartisan support
Colorado Energy Plan analysis shows switching from coal to renewable energy will boost jobs and local tax revenue
Poudre Valley Electric and Xcel Energy Colorado President win national awards from Smart Electric Power Alliance
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Moody’s report: “High quality renewable resources” could help Tri-State and Basin Electric navigate rising carbon transition risks
Senator Heinrich highlights “frustrations in New Mexico” with Tri-State’s limits on local solar
Moody’s report shows Tri-State’s coal plants are more expensive than new renewable energy
Tri-State’s limits on local energy development are a growing problem for co-op members
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New wind and solar power in Colorado is now cheaper than existing coal plants
Companies' 100% renewable energy goals are getting results in Colorado
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Colorado towns and cities are helping push utilities to embrace renewable energy
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