Request by SMPA Members: Accelerate clean power at the SMPA and Tri-State
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Board of Directors
San Miguel Power Association (SMPA)
170 West 10th Avenue, Nucla, Colorado 81424
As members of the San Miguel Power Association, we are concerned about the electric power that we purchase from Tri-State. The key problem is that Tri-State remains overly wedded to fossil fuel resources that are both polluting and expensive in comparison to cheap, fuel-free sources such as wind power and utility scale solar.
The economics of energy have shifted rapidly. For example, the bond rating agency Moody’s recently issued a report showing the all-in cost for new wind power to be below the variable cost of a mature coal plant in the center of the country – a development almost unthinkable ten years ago.[i] With cheap wind power available in the wholesale market and excellent solar and hydro resources west of the Rockies, Tri-State should become a leader in clean power, not a laggard. More specifically, Tri-State should:
· Add solar, wind and storage resources at a rate that is at least consistent with the brisk pace of growth nationally.[ii]
· Cease investing in new coal plants and responsibly wind down uneconomic and polluting coal power by reinvesting in affected communities with an eye toward the future, not the past.[iii]
· Permit the expansion of locally generated clean power and cease legal efforts to impose arbitrary limits on clean power that are inconsistent with the federal law PURPA.
In brief, we value power that does not pollute, that does not run out, that becomes ever more affordable and that is an engine of local job creation. We note too that other electric coops around the country see this value. For example, David Saggau, the CEO of Great River Energy, a Minnesota-based electric cooperative, recently called wind power “the new ‘baseload’ source of electricity, supplanting coal as the resource to which all others must adapt.”[iv]
As members, we request that Tri-State expeditiously shift to clean power in procurement, development and transmission. And, we ask the SMPA Board to direct a copy of this petition to Tri-State’s Board of Directors.
[i] “Moody’s: Falling wind energy costs threaten Midwestern coal plants”; http://www.utilitydive.com/news/moodys-falling-wind-energy-costs-threaten-midwestern-coal-plants/438759/
[ii] As a benchmark, wind and solar power together grew 22% last year and grew at a 17% compound annual rate over the last five years. Source: Energy Information Association “Table 1.1. Net Generation by Energy Source: Total (All Sectors), 2006-December 2016”; http://www.eia.gov/electricity/monthly/epm_table_grapher.cfm?t=epmt_1_01
[iii] In this respect, we support the SMPA Board’s recent request that Tristate examine building a utility scale solar plant in Nucla, Colorado.
[iv] Great River Energy, 2016 Annual Report;
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