Tri-State de-emphasizing Coal?

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From the Durango Herald (Shane Benjamin): “In the near-term, [Tri-State Generation and Transmission] plans to expand energy-efficiency programs, make investments in renewable energy and increase natural gas capacity, said Lee Boughey, a spokesman for Tri-State, during a phone interview Friday. In the long-term, Tri-State will consider building a nuclear power plant in southeast Colorado, he said. It is a marked difference from four years ago when the energy supplier announced plans to pursue three new coal-fired power plants, Boughey said. The shift comes amid a changing regulatory climate. There is a great deal of uncertainty when it comes to state and federal regulatory policies as they pertain to energy and the environment, Boughey said. Tri-State wanted to take time to understand the new direction and policies and evaluate the benefits and risks of new approaches, he said.”

From the Denver Post (Gargi Chakrabarty):

Tri-State Generation and Transmission’s board decided at its annual meeting Thursday to review the company’s long-term resource plans. “Part of our re-evaluation process will review how coal- based resources fit into our long-term resource plans,” said Ken Anderson, Tri-State’s executive vice president and general manager.

The announcement comes as environmentalists urge the Colorado Public Utilities Commission to take on regulatory oversight of Tri-State’s resource plans, in part to ensure the company follows Colorado’s renewable-energy mandates. Tri-State depends on coal for 72 percent of its power generation; just 1 percent comes from renewables such as wind and solar energy. The Westminster-based company serves 44 rural electric cooperatives in Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico and Nebraska. It is regulated by a variety of federal agencies. Tri-State’s near-term plan is to increase its energy-efficiency programs, bring in more renewable and natural-gas resources, and invest in new technology for clean coal and renewable energy, spokesman Lee Boughey said. Two weeks ago, the company announced it would develop one of the world’s largest photovoltaic solar plants in New Mexico.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here and here.

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