Tri-State, LPEA reach settlement on flexible power supply options

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By Hillary Knox | La Plata Electric Association

In a significant step forward to advance flexible power supply options for its members, wholesale power supply cooperative Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) a settlement agreement with numerous parties, including Tri-State utility members La Plata Electric Association (LPEA), Poudre Valley Rural Electric Association and San Miguel Power Association on partial requirements memberships on April 28. 

With FERC approval, Tri-State’s utility members can utilize the flexible option to self-supply up to 50 percent of their load requirements, in addition to members’ current 5 percent self-supply and community solar options. 

“Reaching an agreement to implement flexible power supply options with our members is another significant milestone in our Responsible Energy Plan,” said Duane Highley, CEO of Tri-State. “In the spirit of our cooperative model, it’s a win for all involved and we greatly appreciate the collaborative efforts of our members, our board of directors and FERC Trial Staff.” 

In 2021, Tri-State’s board of directors, including a representative from each of the cooperative’s 42 utility members, authorized an open season offering a total of 300 megawatts of self-supply capacity, which is approximately 10 percent of Tri-State’s system peak demand. Three Tri-State utility members, LPEA, PVREA and SMPA, have already taken part in the open season for an aggregate of 203 megawatts. 

“We are optimistic about the partial contract option, allowing us to source half our power from Tri-State and half from other sources, and are thankful for the collaboration to meet the unique needs of our local communities,” said LPEA CEO Jessica Matlock. “If approved by FERC, this path would support and evolve the generation and transmission model, while delivering financial, environmental, social, and resiliency and reliability benefits to LPEA. We hope for a positive outcome from FERC, given the wide level of support and the win-win nature of the settlement.” 

The settlement agreement resolves the level of the buy-down payment that a partial requirements member would pay to Tri-State, and certain of the commercial terms applicable to Tri-State utility members that intend to become partial requirements utility members. Specific buy-down payments will not be disclosed until the settlement is approved by FERC. Regarding transmission services, partial requirements utility members will continue to purchase full-requirements transmission service from Tri-State and will agree on how third-party resources will be delivered into Tri-State’s transmission system.