WHat is Tri-State generation & Transmission?
Tri-State Generation and Transmission (Tri-State) is an electricity Generation and Transmission Association based in Westminster, CO. It is one of 64 G&Ts in the US and was formed in 1952 to sell electricity to rural cooperatives of Colorado and neighboring states. Today Tri-State has 43 owner-member local Distribution Cooperatives, or Rural Electric Associations (REAs) that serve more than 1.5 million customers in Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming, and parts of Nebraska.
Tri-State is governed by its board of directors, made up of one board member from each of the 43 member coops, regardless of the size of the member coop. Today 18 of the 43 members (41%) are from Colorado while Colorado accounts for 66% of the Tri-State power load. 42 of the 43 distributions coops have very long contracts with Tri-State, reaching out until the end of 2050. The breakdown of Tri-States' co-ops can be found here.
In most of the geographic area of Colorado, residents receive their electric power from publicly owned rural electric co-ops, or REAs. Typically, these Rural Electric Associations do not generate their own power, but obtain most of it from power wholesalers. By far the biggest such wholesaler is Westminster-based Tri-State Generation & Transmission Association.
Tri-State contracts require co-ops to buy 95% of their power from Tri-State through 2050, meaning all of these co-ops are missing out on opportunities to develop local clean energy resources that can bring job and economic benefits to rural parts of Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming and Nebraska. Tri-State's reliance on increasingly expensive power generated by coal and gas plants also means these co-ops are paying significantly more than customers of utilities that are accelerating their transition to clean energy.