Colorado Governor Polis joins Tri-State to announce greenhouse gas reduction goals

  • Tri-State to submit a resource plan in Colorado calling for 80% reduction in emissions associated with wholesale electricity sales by 2030, to achieve state and association member goals.
  • Separately, Tri-State to evaluate participation in Southwest Power Pool RTO.

(November 12, 2020 – Westminster, Colo.) – Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association and Colorado Gov. Jared Polis today announced Tri-State will be submitting a “preferred scenario” to reduce emissions associated with its wholesale electricity sales in Colorado by 80% by 2030. 

With the support of its members and board of directors, Tri-State will put forward this aggressive preferred scenario in its Electric Resource Plan (ERP), which will be filed with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) on Dec. 1. Tri-State must submit its ERP to the state regulators for approval, as the association seeks to dramatically increase its renewable resources and reduce emissions.

“We’re committed to serving our members and doing our part to help Colorado meet its carbon reduction goals,” said Duane Highley, Tri-State CEO.

“Our laser focus on a swift transition to clean, renewable energy has been motivated by the opportunity to grow good-paying jobs, expand economic opportunity, save customers money, and do our part on addressing climate and making our air cleaner,” said Gov. Polis. “This announcement marks the latest on-the-ground example of these broad benefits including am 8% green energy dividend wholesale rate reduction, and I commend the entire Tri-State team for their leadership.”

Tri-State recognizes that its ERP filing, including its preferred scenario, must be transparent, equitable, enforceable and verifiable, and that it must be consistent with the CPUC’s existing resource plan authority. While Tri-State’s wholesale rates are regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), federal regulation does not affect the CPUC’s resource planning authority.

“We look forward to engaging with stakeholders and the Colorado commission in evaluating our various scenarios,” Highley said. “While our ERP scenario will not be easy to achieve, we are optimistic that by working together and making timely decisions, like by pursuing a regional transmission organization, we can overcome the challenges we will face in achieving an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions on behalf of our members.”

Entire Press Conference audio with Q & A from the media, including The BARN

 SPP membership to be evaluated by five regional power providers

Separately today, Tri-State and other regional power providers have sent letters committing to evaluate the expansion of the Southwest Power Pool’s regional transmission organization (RTO) into the West. SPP is a non-profit RTO corporation based in Little Rock, Ark., that works to ensure reliable supplies of power, adequate transmission infrastructure and competitive wholesale electric prices for its members.

Tri-State and four other regional utilities and power providers will study participation in a western expansion of the SPP RTO, including Basin Electric Power Cooperative, Deseret Power Electric Cooperative, the Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska (MEAN) and the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA).

“Tri-State’s participation in a Western Interconnect RTO is essential to advance our members’ reliability, affordability and clean energy goals,” Highley said. “With our western utility peers, we will take the time necessary to evaluate the expansion of SPP’s RTO into the West. While the issues are complex, we remain optimistic that together we are on a path that can capture the full benefits of an organized market in the West.”

There are many benefits of a full RTO in the region. Regional transmission planning and cost allocation could provide for much needed, new regional transmission infrastructure, which is a key to integrating new renewable resources, Tri-State noted. A common tariff that applies the same rules across an entire footprint eliminates “pancaked” transmission rates and losses, and provides further efficiencies through common generation interconnection standards and practices. Connecting to the West’s abundant solar capacity, coupled with the East’s abundant wind capacity, creates an opportunity in the Rocky Mountain region to facilitate efficient transfer of additional generating resources across these regions, and offers opportunities for greater solar resource development within Tri-State’s footprint. Additionally, as a cooperative, Tri-State highly values opportunities for member engagement through SPP’s independent board and direct membership participation.

About Tri-State

Tri-State is a not-for-profit cooperative of 45 members, including 42 utility electric distribution cooperative and public power district members in four states that together deliver reliable, affordable and responsible power to more than a million electricity consumers across nearly 200,000 square miles of the West. For more information about Tri-State, visit

By Brian Allmer - The BARN

Brian Allmer & the BARN are members of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB), the Colorado FFA Foundation, the Colorado 4H Foundation, the Colorado Farm Show Marketing Committee, 1867 Club Board Member, Denver Ag & Livestock Club Member, the Weld County Fair Board, the Briggsdale FFA Advisory Council, Briggsdale 4H Club Beef Leader & Founder / Coordinator of the Briggsdale Classic Open Jackpot Show.