Final Colorado coal plant would close, renewables would rise in Tri-State plan

Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, a Colorado-based utility company, has announced a new energy plan that includes the closure of two coal power plants and a significant increase in renewable energy sources. The company filed the plan with state regulators on Friday and is seeking up to $970 million in grants and loans through the U.S Department of Agriculture’s Empowering Rural America program.

With more than 40 rural electric associations in Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, and Nebraska, Tri-State aims to transition to renewable energy sources with the help of federal funding. The company plans to close Unit 3 of its Craig coal-fired power plant by January 1, 2028, and a unit of a coal plant near Springerville, Ariz., by 2031. In addition, Tri-State plans to add 1,250 megawatts of additional renewables and battery storage through 2031, with the goal of supplying 70% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030.

Environmental groups and member electric associations have criticized Tri-State for not moving away from coal quickly enough. However, the Sierra Club has expressed support for Tri-State’s new energy plan, stating that it is a win for people’s Health, the environment, and members’ wallets. The plan is expected to cut members’ costs by more than $1.8 billion through 2043.

While the plan has faced some criticism from local communities and officials, Tri-State CEO Duane Highley has emphasized the company’s commitment to working with partners and employees during the transition. The plan is expected to have a positive impact on reducing carbon pollution and providing economic benefits for member cooperatives.

The company has also expressed interest in the U.S Department of Agriculture’s New ERA program, which prioritizes cutting greenhouse-gas emissions and provides funding for renewable energy and zero-emission systems. Tri-State believes that federal funding will help accelerate the addition of renewables and the closure of the Springerville plant.

The proposal marks a significant shift for Tri-State as it works towards a more sustainable and environmentally friendly energy future.

Historical Background:
– Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association has been a key player in the energy industry for decades, providing power to rural electric associations in several states.
– The company’s reliance on coal power has been a point of contention among environmental groups and members, leading to debates about the transition to renewable energy sources.
– The company’s newest energy plan represents a significant step towards reducing carbon emissions and embracing cleaner energy alternatives.

This announcement comes at a time when many utility companies are re-evaluating their energy portfolios and making efforts to transition to renewable sources. It demonstrates an important shift in the energy industry towards more sustainable and environmentally friendly practices.

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