- Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association and Platte River Power Authority, Colorado’s two biggest producers of coal-fired electricity, are adding significant amounts of renewable generation to their portfolios as wind and solar become more price competitive, the Denver Post reports.
- Tri-State, which serves 44 member co-ops, is planning a 150 MW wind project. Platte River Power, which provides electricity to 18 Colorado municipalities, is planning a 22 MW solar installation.
- As wholesale electricity generators, Platte River Power and Tri-State do not fall under Colorado’s 30% by 2020 renewables mandate for investor-owned utilities, its 10% mandate for municipal utilities, or its proposed 15% mandate for rural electric cooperatives. An estimated 75% of their 2014 portfolio was coal.
As of December, 2014, 59% of Colorado’s 4,585 MW of electricity capacity was in coal, 24% was in natural gas, 2% in hydroelectric power, and 15% in renewables, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Colorado had 2,300 MW of wind capacity in 2014, is a leader in community solar, and has nearly 60 small hydroelectric facilities. The renewables mandate requires 3% of the renewables to be distributed generation.
Tri-State has added 800 MW of renewables since 2008 and got 24% of its electricity from wind and hydropower in 2014. Its member co-ops added 54 MW of renewables in 2014 and have 15 MW planned. The new wind project is through a $240 million, 25 year contract with NextEra Energy and the G&T utility is building a 72-mile, $40 million transmission line for it.
Platte River Power gets 20% of its electricity from hydro, less than 5% from wind, and none from solar, but its Board has targeted a 20% cut in carbon emissions by 2020 and an 80% cut by 2050. It has plans to obtain 32% of its power from renewables by 2016.