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Tri-State Goes from Court Battle to Battling Climate Change

February 9, 2009

Denver - From a court battle to working together to battle global warming and achieve energy efficiency - that's the new state of things between the group Environment Colorado and Denver-based Tri-State Generation and Transmission. The environmental group had taken action in Colorado water court against the major electricity wholesaler - which serves rural electrical cooperatives throughout Colorado and three other states - challenging plans by Tri-State for a new power plant near Holly.

Keith Hay, energy advocate with Environment Colorado, says they withdrew the challenge in exchange for agreement by Tri-State to work together on a far-reaching efficiency study.

"We're excited that they're taking this step; we certainly expect that they will follow through once the study is in place, and begin to put in place the efficiency measures."

Lee Boughy with Tri-State says they plan to use the study to find ways to cut costs through efficiency, passing the savings on to customers, while also reducing stress on Colorado's environment.

"We're looking for programs that provide incentives for energy-efficient consumer choices, changes in the way we operate our system, and where we have opportunities to reduce our peaks."

Boughy says Tri-State remains open to all forms of energy production and increased efficiency.

Hay of Environment Coloradosays they hope Tri-State and other Colorado utilities look to energy efficiency first when planning for the future.

"Once you have that in place and you're doing as much as you can, the next step is really to look to renewable energy to meet growing energy demand."

In an earlier report on Western utilities, Tri-State ranked at the bottom when it came to developing plans to reduce global warming pollution and prepare for possible future carbon regulations. The study found Tri-State ranked far behind other utilities in efficiency measures and relied too heavily on coal without carbon capture technology.

The cooperative study is set to be completed by February 2010. Tri-State serves a total of 44 member cooperatives, including 18 in Colorado. The previous study of Western utilities is at
eetd.lbl.gov

Eric Mack, Public News Service - CO