Tri-State pledges to cut emissions from Colorado electricity sales 80% by 2030


    Colorado has reduced emissions in the electricity sector largely by shifting away from coal-fired generation towards renewables like wind and solar. (Chase Woodruff/Colorado Newsline)

    Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, a Westminster-based electricity wholesaler that provides power to 17 rural electric cooperatives across Colorado, announced Thursday that it plans to achieve an 80% cut to greenhouse gas emissions from electricity sales within the state by 2030.

    Gov. Jared Polis joined Tri-State executives to announce the pledge, which comes ahead of the company’s submission of an electric resource plan to the Colorado Public Utilities Commission on Dec. 1. If approved, Tri-State’s plan would align the power provider with state regulators’ overall target of an 80% emissions reduction in the electricity sector by 2030, a centerpiece of the Polis administration’s efforts to fight climate change.

    “Our laser focus on a swift transition to clean, renewable energy has been motivated by the opportunity to grow good-paying jobs, expand economic opportunity, save customers money, and do our part on addressing climate and making our air cleaner,” Polis said in a statement.

    “We’re committed to serving our members and doing our part to help Colorado meet its carbon reduction goals,” said Tri-State CEO Duane Highley.

    Thursday’s announcement follows a commitment made by Tri-State in January to retire two coal plants and a coal mine in Colorado and New Mexico. The company has long faced criticism from environmental activists, as well as some of its member utilities, for lagging behind on the transition to clean energy — and while its 80%-by-2030 goal is the most comprehensive decarbonization plan it’s announced to date, it applies only to electricity sales to cooperatives within Colorado, not to others it serves in New Mexico, Wyoming and Nebraska.

    “We applaud Tri-State for stepping up to the plate by committing to reducing its carbon emissions 80% by 2030,” Anna McDevitt, a campaign representative for the Sierra Club, said in a statement. “However, climate change and air pollution have no boundaries and in order to be all-around climate leader Tri-State will need to address harmful emissions in all four states the company serves with coal-fired electricity.”