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IOU upheaval, push for more renewables moves to co-op arena

first_imgIOU upheaval, push for more renewables moves to co-op arena FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Gazette (Colorado Springs):Luis Reyes drove up to Durango from Taos, N.M., on a sunny April day in 2017 to tell folks how the Kit Carson Electric Cooperative, which he heads, left its interstate wholesale power provider and struck out on its own — and the room where he spoke at Durango’s Strater Hotel was packed.Kit Carson had paid $37 million to get out of its long-term contract with the Westminster-based Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, which serves 43 electric cooperatives in four states, including 18 in Colorado.Several co-ops have complained about what they see as Tri-State’s high power costs, limits on developing local renewable energy and the loss of dollars sent out of town to buy electricity.Since Reyes’ talk, the Durango-based La Plata Electric Association has begun to explore its options, and the Delta-Montrose Electric Association is in separation talks with Tri-State. On the Front Range, large co-ops, such as Brighton-based United Power and Fort Collins-based Poudre Valley Rural Electric Association, are pressing for more local renewable generation.“When Kit Carson left last year, the lightbulb went on at the other 42 co-ops,” said Jerry Marizza, new energy program coordinator for United Power.This turmoil is born of rapid changes in the utility industry as power prices are falling due to cheap generation powered by natural gas, wind and solar and growing demands from consumers for homegrown renewable energy.Many co-ops, however, chafe at Tri-State’s 7.5 cents a kilowatt-hour charge when the going Western wholesale price is around 3.1 cents a kilowatt-hour, according to energy wholesaler Guzman Energy.“Tri-State is changing,” Marizza said. “It just isn’t changing fast enough.”More: Colorado rural electric cooperatives look at cutting the cordlast_img

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