SB 252 places arbitrary mandates on selected electric cooperatives that would result in increased rates for Colorado residents and incure billions of dollars in capital improvement costs for Tri-State Generation and Transmission.
Impacts of SB 13-252:
· Rural Colorado consumers will be forced to shoulder increased costs of this increase in the renewable energy mandate – this bill will increase costs to non-profit rural utilities by billions of dollars.
· Replaces Colorado’s current renewable energy standard (which treats all electric cooperatives equally) with a system that categorizes cooperatives using arbitrary criteria.
· Expands the definition of eligible energy resources to include coal mine methane and “trash-to-gas” but does not include zero-greenhouse gas emission sources, such as large hydropower.
What the bill does:
· Increases by 150% the current renewable energy mandate. Currently, co-ops that provide service to 100,000 meters must have 10% of their electricity from renewable resources by 2020. This bill increases that to 25% by 2020.
· Requires that Tri-State Generation and Transmission generate at least 25% of the energy it provides to its Colorado members from eligible energy resources by the year 2020.
· Increases costs to all cooperatives that receive electricity from the Tri-State Generation and Transmission.
· Inappropriately dictates that Tri-State G&T can recover its increased energy costs and capital improvement costs ONLY from its Colorado members, which will force Tri-State G&T to reconfigure its current rate structure, so that more than half of its members to shoulder the entire burden of this mandate.
· The bill requires distribution cooperatives to obtain at least 1% of their individual retail sales of electricity from distributed generation sources.
· The bill expands the definition of "eligible energy resources" to include coal mine methane and synthetic gas produced from pyrolysis ("trash to gas") if the Colorado PUC finds that the electricity generated from those resources are "greenhouse gas neutral."
· The bill limits the amount that distribution co-ops can increase rates as a result of the mandate to 2% of the total annual electric bill for each customer. However, there is no such rate cap for Tri-State. In theory, a distribution co-op could cease using the additional renewable energy from Tri-State if doing so caused its rates to increase by more than 2%. However, Tri-State would have to continue to generate the electricity, regardless of cost.
· Tri-State would be required to submit an annual report to the PUC each year describing how it complied with the ERS and whether it will meet the 2020 standard.
Tri-State Generation and Transmission is one of Moffat County largest employers. It is a significant economic driver and community partner in Moffat County and the nine other counties in which it operates. Tri-State has made significant investments in infrastructure, emission control and compliance with the existing renewable energy mandate.
In a time when the state's budget is undergoing significant cuts and unemployment is at 7.2%, the legislature should not be taking any steps that put tax revenue and jobs at risk or enacting a mandate that increases fees to residents.