Ratepayers and western businesses call on Tri-State to #TriHarder and commit to 80% carbon-free electricity by 2030
To: CEO Duane Highley, the Board of Directors of Tri-State Generation and Transmission, and the Board of Directors of the 41 rural electric member-cooperatives served by Tri-State
CC: Colorado Public Utilities Commission and the Colorado General Assembly
As Colorado business leaders, we ask you to commit Tri-State to achieving 80% carbon-free electricity by 2030. Moving swiftly to a clean energy economy is an essential step to strengthening local economic development and improving the quality of life in rural Colorado for the benefit of current and future residents and businesses.
A well-planned transition from gas and coal-fired power to renewable wind and solar resources, combined with energy efficiency upgrades and emerging storage technologies, promises economic and resiliency benefits to our region. Economic impacts to consider as part of regional carbon reductions include:
More affordable and less volatile electricity rates via local clean energy projects;
Attractiveness to new businesses and community investment;
Staving off the worst impacts of climate change on our outdoor recreation economy;
Job creation accompanied by local, clean energy development and efficiency upgrades;
Financial benefits for farmers and ranchers through fees related to projects on private land;
An expanded tax base for supporting local services such as police, fire and schools.
Tri-State member cooperatives around the state are already pursuing a clean energy future, but there is only so much we can do while Tri-State is blocking its member co-ops from developing local clean energy and remaining heavily dependent on fossil fuels. For example, Poudre Valley Rural Electric Association has committed to 80% carbon-free energy by 2030 and San Miguel Power Association is studying power supply alternatives, but both are restricted by Tri-State policy and contracts from getting all but a meager 5% of their power from local clean energy projects. That is a stifling barrier to rural areas and businesses that want to take advantage of the many benefits of the switch to clean energy.
With solar and wind technology growing more cost-effective than fossil-fuel-burning plants every day, Tri-State lacks a compelling reason to continue operating coal and gas plants. The longer rural areas are forced by Tri-State to remain reliant on coal and gas, the more you burden rural areas with unjustifiably high rates, and the more you keep us connected to stranded assets. For the sake of rural economies across Colorado, we ask that you commit Tri-State to 80% carbon reductions by 2030 and amend your policies to encourage investment in local renewable generation.
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